The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church is proposing an increase of 3 percent in ministry share for the 2010-11 fiscal year, bringing it to $316.76 per member. (Ministry share is the money collected by local churches for shared denominational ministries.)
The increase must be approved by Synod 2010 in June.
Not all trustees were happy with that increase. Rev. Dan Mouw, a pastor in Grandville, Mich., pointed out that in West Michigan, unemployment is still at 14 percent. “Churches have cut staff, cut compensation,” he said. “Congregations are decreasing their budgets. I don’t like the signal it sends in this area.”
Loren Veldhuizen, a trustee from Orange City, Iowa, who served on the budget review committee, said that after two years of denominational cuts and layoffs “we need this increase to maintain quality and excellence.”
The bulk of that increase will go toward denominational management, services, and ministries, for strategic ministry enhancement, said John Bolt, the CRC’s director of finance and administration.
Rev. Jerry Dykstra, executive director of the CRC, said, “Money gets set aside so that we can decide down the road where to most effectively put that money. It gives us the ability to adjust those budgets [during the fiscal year].”
Bolt further clarified the need to have that money set aside. “A church council can move money around as needed. We can’t do that here. If we say it’s going to [for example] specialized ministries and then the seminary needs help, we can’t do anything about it.”
The salary ranges for denominational staff positions remain where they were set in July 2008. Some of the contributions to employee retirement plans will be reinstated effective July 1, 2010, after a major reduction was effected in early 2009 in the face of anticipated budget deficits.