Option 4, Draft A for the July 15 Deadline for TFRSC


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:

  1. Allow classes to delegate representation to these meetings.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. Regional representatives of the BOT will be elected at regional meetings. At Large members can be elected at the bi-national Synod.
  2. The BOT will serve to help agency collaboration and denominational services
  3. The BOT will serve to advise the Executive Director and supervise his work
  4. 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.

  1. We want the Executive Director to have enough power in the agencies to bring focus to CRC ministry.
  2. 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.




About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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3 Responses to Option 4, Draft A for the July 15 Deadline for TFRSC

  1. I definitely think it will be important to focus on structures that resemble WorldRenew compared with other agencies — functional units, whether separate legal entities or not, that do not rely on ministry shares. It will be more important in the coming years for each function/project to know who its donors are and develop relationships accordingly.
    One way to do this relatively smoothly is to start fresh with some new entrepreneurial ventures that gradually take on responsibilities currently done by agencies, once the new entities can fund them on their own. In other words, instead of taking an agency and spinning it off to the world, start a new agile entity that will need to figure out what people and churches want to support in order for it to gear up and be sustainable over time. These new entities will have the freedom to think creatively and think in terms of supporting the changes that people across many denominations want to see in the world.
    I think it will be very important to eliminate the classis structure or significantly alter it (renaming will be required, I think) in order to address an extreme culture issue that permeates the denomination. Classis is broken! It does not work for people who want to exclude women in areas where women are sent to classis (e.g. Second Kazoo), and it does not work for people who want to include women in classes that for years on end will not seat them (e.g. Covenant Sioux Center). So many women I went to college with have left the CRC in the dust that it is a bit depressing. As someone who manages change in my profession, I can see that it will be exceedingly difficult to stick with the Classis structures and migrate them to something beautiful, something that will help us thrive. Classis needs to be dumped in favor of something else regionally. I will caution to be careful not to stick a layer of “middle management” in the mix by pushing too much down to the classes, however. Permit that level to be aggregated from the churches. Adding a regional layer would be a way to explode the administrative overhead costs over time. It is very difficult to remove middle management. Unlike the Presbyterians, we have services without layers regionally. I understand why you say to push work down there, but there are many classes that cannot be fixed. Let’s figure out how to work regionally without classis.
    Maybe I should write this up nicely, but you do such a good job of that, I’ll just put it out here as a comment on your blog unless you have other suggestions.

  2. Dan Hendriksen Jr. says:

    I like much of what you suggest in sections 1 and 3. Section 2, however, sounds like adding a whole new layer of governance, something akin to an RCA regional synod. Unless this is part of an overall plan to merge the CRC into the RCA, is there really a benefit in adding yet another level, with the various associated costs and encumbrances?

  3. Pingback: Option 4, Draft B for the TFRSC Due July 15 | Leadingchurch.com

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