Comment on CRC Budget and Priorities

The site is having difficulties accepting the link. https://www.thebanner.org/news/2018/02/ministry-priorities-budget-realities

Leadership and setting priorities are nearly the same thing. Lean years force organizations to ask hard question about what exactly is their mission. The denomination began as a small administrative service that supported the organic, church ordered structure of Synod. Over the years agencies and offices began, sometimes out of need, sometimes out of ministry visions for some very good things. Once a thing is begun it is hard to let it go.

I wrote this in 2014 during the (latest perennial) structural conversation. https://paulvanderklay.me/2014/05/30/why-the-crc-synod-should-consider-spinning-off-its-agencies/ We’ve made a number of those changes including the COD which I think is a good idea if it enables more felt ownership of the sy-board by classes. Despite the attempts of the BOT to suggest representatives to classes it is step in the right direction.

Now we face the consequences of keeping the agencies beneath Synodical control rather than spinning them out. The idea behind spinning them out would be to force the agencies to focus their mandates and hopefully sharpen in order to develop themselves beyond the efficient but safe ministry share funding system. World Renew has in many ways been the shining star of this for along time, as has Calvin College. It is way too early to assess the contraction of CRHM and CRWM into Resonate but that move was the alternate path to a spin off. In truth CRHM and CRWM had already embraced a sort of “faith missions” model of church planting and foriegn missionary partnership as they’ve been drastically decreasing the amount of support given to church plants and foreign missionaries.

The years of struggle with trying to manage business-type operations by an annual 160+ member assembly goes back to the 1970s. I’m not sure how much we’ve learned.

Our theological tradition has always embraced a sphere sovereignty idea. Christian schools have never been under ecclesiastical control and independent Christians schools have been adapting and in some cases growing and thriving BECAUSE they have not been all around the US and Canada. We can see the same thing with retirement homes. A report like this suggests we’ve not done harder thinking about ecclesiology and mission.

Doug VG has led a mission over a number of years to reawaken our appreciation for Art. 28 of the church order. That has produced an overture that is coming to Synod this year. Maybe that overture doesn’t go far enough.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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