The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church met at the end of April with a full agenda. The board conducts denominational business when synod is not in session. (Synod is the annual leadership gathering of the CRC.)
Church Loyalty Declining
Results of the denominational survey, conducted every five years, show that the CRC has an aging constituency with fewer households with children. The survey revealed declining loyalty to both the denomination and the local church.
Eighty-three percent of respondents said their congregation rates well in keeping the Bible central, and more than half of respondents said their congregation encourages generosity and loving relationships.
The board is recommending to synod a ministry share amount of $307.53 per member for 2010, the same amount approved for 2009. Ministry shares are the amount of money collected from local churches for shared denominational ministries.
The board also accepted a recommendation that salaries of all denominational personnel be frozen at 2009 levels.
Director of Finance John Bolt reported that at the nine-month mark of the current fiscal year, ministry share income is coming in at 90 percent of what was budgeted.
CRWRC, Communities First
In other news, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) informed the board that its North American ministry team that focuses on community development is being spun off as a separate organization called Communities First, allowing it to work with churches of other denominations and draw resources from those churches.
Communities First will have its own board outside the administrative structure of the Christian Reformed Church and will work with CRWRC as a partner agency.
Staff Ministry Credentials
The board received a report about formal credentialing of people serving in staff ministries in Christian Reformed churches. Currently, 1,200 people serve congregations in that capacity, but the qualifications and requirements for those people vary widely. A pilot run of the credentialing process that would lead to more parity could begin in summer 2009.