The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church has decided to assemble a short-term taskforce to review the structure and culture of the denomination’s ministries and leadership.
The action comes in a response to a recent organizational assessment done by an outside consultant, and in the wake of resignations of both the executive director and the director of denominational ministries.
Consultant Peter Meerveld found that while there is a strong commitment to the CRC’s ministries and a desire for a unified vision, there are fundamental unanswered questions regarding the authority, relationship, and representation of agencies and ministries within the organization.
“The ‘top down’ governance of synod and the BOT and the ‘bottom up’ authority of agencies contribute to unclear roles and responsibilities,” Meerveld wrote in his report, noting that the executive director’s role as it responds to those challenges is unique.
Meerveld also observed that while the structure and influence of the ministry agency boards provide for greater oversight, those factors contribute to
- a challenge to the role and authority of administrative leadership
- complex decision making and approval systems that are reducing productivity (and)
- tensions among the executive director’s advisory team, the agencies, and the BOT.
Meerveld said the relationship of [the executive director] with agencies and specialized ministries has been delegated to the director of denominational ministries—contributing to issues regarding access, conflict management, and communication. That delegation was the result of a 2008 structure change.
The board’s review of structure and culture is intended to evaluate possible adjustments to the denomination’s current structure, not to consider a wholesale remodel of the structure. While one board member asked whether such a review should be mandated and driven by synod, the consensus of the board was that the intent of the taskforce should be “to look at improving what we have,” rather than attempting a larger structure review.
The board plans to have the taskforce’s membership and mandate defined prior to Synod 2011, which convenes June 10.