The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church conducts denominational business when synod is not in session. (Synod is the annual leadership gathering of the CRC.) Each year the board’s actions are subject to approval by synod.
The board met Sept. 25-27 and made the following decisions:
New Center for Congregations
The board approved a new denominational office called Center for Congregations, intended to be the primary contact point between local congregations and denominational agencies.
The proposal, written by Executive Director Rev. Jerry Dykstra, reads, “No longer will churches accept agencies that simply receive donations and produce ministries. Churches are longing to actively engage in . . . meaningful ways.”
What will churches gain from the creation of this new office? Dykstra said, “It is difficult to describe specific benefits for the churches at this point in the process. What we can say is that churches want, need, and deserve more from denominational leadership, myself included.”
The center’s director will report to the director of denominational ministries and serve alongside the other agency directors. The center will also house the church’s specialized ministries, including Abuse Prevention, Disability Concerns, and Race Relations.
The proposal did not contain a job description for the center’s director, a budget, or an outline of the measures that will be used to evaluate the center’s effectiveness. Some of those details will be presented to the trustees in February.
Senior Leadership Structure Changes
The board approved a change in the structure of denominational leadership. Prior to this, the CRC’s executive director, was advised by the Ministry Council, which is made up of agency directors and several other senior denominational leaders. That structure was approved by Synod 2004.
Now, however, the executive director will have a new group of advisers made up of senior staff, none of whom direct the major mission agencies.
The role of the director of Canadian ministries (DCM) is also being reviewed. It was noted that the DCM functions primarily as a deputy to the executive director. As Dykstra told the board, the DCM “is engaged in ecumenical relationships in Canada, but he’s really not directing ministries. He’s in some ways a figurehead for churches in Canada.”
U.S. Headquarters Gets Greener
The denomination’s U.S. headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich., is getting an upgrade for the heating, cooling, and lighting systems. The new system will provide increased energy efficiency, better air quality, and water conservation. The project’s cost, $2.1 million, is expected to be made up by energy savings.