For participants

Listening Together:

A Discussion on Biblical Covenant
for the Reformed Church in America

As approved by the 2017 General Synod in R 17-18 


Thank you for your willingness to participate in a Listening Together workshop. This is a process guide that has been developed as a resource to assist you in that work.


Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, this material is intended to cultivate a safe environment where all participants can discuss the suggested questions of R 17-18 and others that are raised in the course of conversation. The process is designed to encourage deepening of relationships while 1) reflecting on the history, present ministry, and potential future ministry of the Reformed Church in America; and 2) carefully considering biblical themes of covenant and the implications of the theological differences present throughout the denomination.

This process was created in order to fulfill the work of proposal R 17-56, which was passed by General Synod 2017 and finalized as R 17-18 in the Minutes of General Synod. The proposal, made by former general secretary Tom De Vries, arose out of the understanding that significant tension exists throughout the denomination around difficult biblical and societal questions. These conversations are not intended to answer those questions; the goal of Listening Together is to listen to God, listen to one another, and begin a greater discernment process for the denomination around the ideas of biblical covenant.


You should receive information from your facilitator regarding which format they have chosen to use for your group’s Listening Together process (one longer workshop, two shorter workshops, or a format they have adapted to fit the group’s context). Guides for versions one and two are available on this page. Regardless of which format your group uses, you will need to complete the same preparatory work.

On the day of your scheduled gathering, please bring your Bible and a laptop or tablet, which will be used to record your responses to various questions throughout the day. You will need to be able to type, so a smartphone will not suit this purpose. If you do not have a device like this available, your facilitator can provide paper copies of the questions so you are able to write your responses.

Participant preparatory work
Three hour workshop
Two 2-hour workshops