Delegates at Synod 2022 appointed Zachary King as the new general secretary of the Christian Reformed Church, but not before asking him some tough questions. The role King steps into was created earlier that day when synod approved a new governance and leadership structure for the denomination.
Paul VanderKlay, Classis Central California, interviewed King on behalf of delegates. Leadership involves mentorship of one another and building a godly culture, King said. “There’s so little we can accomplish individually,” he said. “But as a group walking together in the Spirit, the sky is the limit.”
VanderKlay asked why King left the mission field in 2017 to become director of Resonate Global Mission.
“God moved me from resistance to obedience and submission,” he answered. “I had a sense that this was God’s call.” King said he is most proud of “the people I’ve been privileged to lead. I’m not sure if most of you know the quality of people we send out (on the mission field).”
“What did you learn about yourself leading Resonate?” VanderKlay asked.
“I learned to be seriously engaged with the Spirit in prayer,” said King. “I learned to prioritize God in all of this work.”
Following VanderKlay’s interview, other delegates were given the chance to ask questions. Blake Campbell, Classis Illiana, asked King how he will implement the decisions synod is making in response to Neland Avenue CRC. King’s home church, Fuller Avenue CRC, is part of Classis Grand Rapids East along with Neland.
“I will with integrity, honesty, grace, and Christ’s love implement the decisions of our synodical delegates,” King answered. “It’s difficult because of the relationship and history involved. … My understanding of Scripture is that God has shown us a model for human sexuality of marriage between a man and a woman. I fully support the decisions of the CRC on this matter. I believe what the Scripture says, and I acknowledge that the confessions support it.”
Shaun O’Brien, Classis Grandville, asked how King will avoid getting isolated or “boxed in” as a leader.
“The general secretary is supposed to have an outward-facing engagement,” King replied. “I’m really committed to that. What I enjoy most is being out in the churches, sharing lunch, seeing where you live.” He added that he and his wife Sharon Seegar-King have four teenagers, so he does try to establish boundaries on his time.
Ingrid Beck, Classis Niagara, asked the hardest question of the night: “Can you speak some hope to how I go home tomorrow to a gay daughter, trans friends, and a same-sex-attraction marriage in my church?” she asked. “How do I untie my hands?”
“I recognize that there is a real sense of pain and loss,” said King. “A lot of people are experiencing this decision as one that undercuts their identity as a human being. The CRC and its decisions affirm that all human beings—all groups and constituencies—are objects of Christ’s love. I know that Jesus Christ suffers with his people wherever they are.”
“I encourage all of us to speak of God’s unapologetic love for his people in difficult times with humility and measured tones,” he added. “I don’t have an easy answer to (your question).”
After short deliberation behind closed doors, synod president Jose Rayas officially welcomed King as general secretary on behalf of synod, and delegates gave a standing ovation. Lastly, a group of delegates took turns praying for King and his family in English, Korean, and Navajo.
Synod 2022 is meeting at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-16. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod, download the Banner app on your mobile device, or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook. On Twitter follow #crcsynod or twitter.com/crcna. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church (it did not gather in 2020 or 2021). Connect to the meeting’s livestream, read advisory committee reports, and find other resources atcrcna.org/synod.