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Task Force Underway to Study CRC Structure

The task force to study the Christian Reformed Church’s denominational administrative structure and culture held its first meeting in late August.

The task force was mandated by Synod 2011, following the resignations of the church’s two top executives, Rev. Gerard Dykstra and Sandra Johnson.

Synod appointed Rev. Joel Boot, the CRC’s interim executive director for the next two years, to assemble the group. Its members include

  • Two members of the denomination’s Board of Trustees: Rev. Scott Greenway and Kathy Vandergrift
  • Two members from CRC agencies or educational institutions: Rev. Jul Medenblik (Calvin Theological Seminary president) and Ida Mutoigo (director, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee-Canada)
  • Three members-at-large: Jane Vander Haagen, Colin Watson, Terry Vander Aa
  • One member of the synod advisory committee that recommended formation of the task force: Rev. Joel De Boer

The task force also includes Peter Meerveld, a consultant on organizational development, who did a review of the structure and culture for the Board of Trustees earlier this year.

Rev. Peter Borgdorff, CRC executive director emeritus, now serving as deputy executive director, was also named on the memo that went out from Boot’s office. Borgdorff, who was influential in shaping much of the denominational structure presently in place, is not a member of the task force, said Boot, but is providing staff support.

One of the first things on the task force’s agenda is to hold “listening events” in the CRC offices in Palos Heights, Ill.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Burlington, Ontario.

“The discussions will be in a round-table format with a member of the task force at each table to hear and record the comments and suggestions of [denominational employees],” Boot said. Those discussions will take place the last week of September and the first week of October.

CRC structure will figure prominently as well when the boards of almost all the agencies and educational institutions of the CRC gather in Grand Rapids the last week of September. The dinner that gathers all board members and senior staff will feature keynote speaker Anthony Diekema, former president of Calvin College. Diekema addressed all board members and senior staff in September 2000, speaking on the same topic. The CRC’s Board of Trustees has also set aside time to devote to the issue.

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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Comments

Some of the issues with governance may be structure, but I suspect it’s more about power and control.

The pushing of turfs is obvious. Who gets to have the most say and the last say – whether it’s directors, advisory committees, or BOT – it’s too much about who’s the chief.

With few willing to be the warriors, this leaves us in confusion. Arrogance, pride, and drive for control push its limits so that in the end , it’s not about servanthood – it’s about getting one’s way.

When one of our directors uses her temper and anger to ensure things go her way or when a former executive director (not J. Dykstra) treats one of our victims harshly and inappropriately by basically directing him out of his office and never to talk about it again or when two of our executive directors (again, not J. Dykstra) refuse to do phone calls to discuss concerns from a church member, it’s not about structure – it’s about power and control and spiritual abuse. We finally had an executive director who was appropriate and the BOT forces his resignation (yes, J. Dykstra).

The use of shame, control, and spiritually abusing each other and our members from our top management must end – and that includes the BOT, advisory committees, and directors.

Reviewing structure and making changes are good things – changing the approach of how our directors and administration control is a whole different matter.

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