The Task Force Reviewing Structure and Culture asked Synod for input by July 15. The due date is approaching. They gave an email address for Synodical delegates: TFRSC@crcna.org and one for non-synodical delegates: TFRSC2014@crcna.org.
The writing I’ve been doing on the subject has been part of my own processing of the issues in preparation for my input. The due date is approaching and I need to start getting specific.
The team has asked for input and I think if we want to have a conversation if you’ve got thoughts use the email addresses given for giving input. This is the church at work!
1. Look for ministries to spin off and new partners to join with us in them
Almost everyone agrees that ministry share income is in long term decline. Better to plan for downsizing than having to react to it. We’re already doing this with the RCA. Other denominations are in a similar situation.
There will obviously be employment fear in agency staff about his process. There is probably already fear about the long term. The overall goal is not to cut the number of kingdom workers, it is to increase it by figuring out how to reconfigure to house ministries in more collaborate ways.
2. Consider developing regional structures to bring synodical ministry closer to the classes and empower classes to take greater ownership of denominational agencies.
The election process for agency boards and even the BOT today isn’t getting us what we want. Synodical delegates choosing between people they don’t know based on paragraph resumes really isn’t the way to allow the church to express itself in these boards. It is too synodical and not classical enough.
We have already gone go an implicit regional structure without the meetings. We need to add the meetings. These regional meetings could do the following:
- Allow classes to delegate representation to these meetings.
- Help classical delegations meet and know their regional representatives at the board level. This will give them opportunities to discuss the issues the boards are facing. You might even have specialized classical representation at the regional meeting to meet with the board representative. For example, if each classis has an agency specialist, someone form each classis with a heart for an agency, they could together at the regional meeting select the new regional board delegate and meet with an agency leader to have face to face conversations about the work of the agency. This would strengthen the classical tie and help the agencies strengthen communication with constituencies through the classes.
- Specialized ministries could likewise use the regional meeting to discuss with classical reps issues for their office. Safe church could work on whether in a particular case a regional team would be better than classical teams. Pastor-Church relations could meet with regional pastors, etc.
- This regional meeting could strengthen the bonds between denomination and classis and help denominational agencies and offices figure out whether regional structures work better for their needs or classical structures.
3. Keep the BOT but modify its mandate
- Regional representatives of the BOT will be elected at regional meetings. At Large members can be elected at the bi-national Synod.
- The BOT will serve to help agency collaboration and denominational services
- The BOT will serve to advise the Executive Director and supervise his work
- The BOT will conduct the business of Synod between Synods
I’m still not sure how to solve the two-headed leadership issue. We have conflicting wants in the system.
- We want the Executive Director to have enough power in the agencies to bring focus to CRC ministry.
- We want enough Agency board specialization and classical ownership to not tip the balance of power in the CRC too far from Classis to Synod.
These issues get dicey when it comes to things like hiring and firing agency directors.
I’ll have to think more about this. Maybe I’ll have Draft B before the deadline.
If you’ve got ideas you want to share drop them in the comment section.