In light of the financial crisis enveloping the United States, and, to a lesser extent, Canada, denominational officials are taking a proactive approach to possible income shortages.
“We are trying to take appropriate precautions,” said Rev. Jerry Dykstra, executive director of the Christian Reformed Church.
Those precautions include asking each church agency to prepare an alternative budget based on 15 percent less income, should that situation develop. “We haven’t seen a significant decrease [in income] yet,” said Dykstra, “but we are concerned that the potential is there.”
Numbers available in November show that ministry-share income (the money local churches use to support denominational ministries) was down 1.3 percent, which is not enough of a dip to indicate a trend. More solid data will be available in the first quarter of 2009.
As another cost-saving measure, in February the denomination’s Board of Trustees will decide whether to ask Synod 2009 to reconsider the decision to hold Synod 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta. Dykstra said that holding synod in Alberta instead of in Grand Rapids, Mich., where it is usually held, would cost the denomination $70,000 more in airfare alone.
Dykstra said that if cutbacks happen, it won’t necessarily mean a freeze on new ministry initiatives. “We’re going to use resources God provides to have the greatest impact,” he said. “We may find ourselves reducing certain ministries and at the same time adding other ministries to do more effective ministry.”