Responding to a task force that is asking them to “discern, but not decide,” Synod 2014 delegates considered three options for restructuring the administrative structure of the Christian Reformed Church.
The options were presented by the Task Force for Reviewing Structure and Culture. Synod 2011 created the task force after the executive director and director of denominational ministries resigned that year. Those resignations revealed the need to examine the CRC’s organizational culture and administrative structures, according to Synod 2011’s statement. The working task force plans to present its final report to Synod 2015.
This year, the task force asked delegates to “analyze and address the ‘dual authority and accountability’ that currently exists between agency boards and the Board of Trustees, which has at times led to confusion, duplication, suspicion and tension.”
The problem? Denominational agencies have their own boards with delegated authority from synod but must also report to and be responsible to the CRC’s Board of Trustees (BOT).
The three options presented were:
Option A: Keep things the same.
Option B: No longer delegate synod’s authority to the agencies, only to the BOT, and change agency boards to advisory councils reporting to the BOT.
Option C: Replace the BOT with a Council of Delegates, with one member elected from each of the 47 classes and 12 to 15 at-large delegates, which would meet twice per year, with an executive of 12 people who would meet more frequently. Boards of some or all agency boards would become advisory committees.
After discussion around their tables, synod delegates were asked to email their preferences, questions, and responses to the task force. Synod voted to extend that process of discernment to ”the church, its agencies, boards, and planning groups.” Church members can do that by emailing TFRSC2014@crcna.org.
“The idea is, how can we best structure ourselves to affect the culture to be interactive, supportive, and encouraging,” said task force member Joel Boot, executive director of the CRC.
“This is so terribly important--this is a huge deal,” said task force member Rev. Scott Greenway. “We need some solid feedback.”
Also in response to the task force, synod voted to explore development of a nominating committee to identify candidates for boards and committees and the opportunity to train board members in board governance.
Synod 2014 is meeting at Central College in Pella, Iowa, from June 13-19. For continuous Banner coverage, please follow The Banner on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at www.thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit www.crcna.org/synod. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.
About the Author
Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who claims both Canadian and American citizenship and grew up in the Christian Reformed Church. She is a member of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina.