Changing to a pledge system for denominational ministry share income has left little for the Christian Reformed Church’s annual synod to do on the finance front.
The new Ministry Shares Reimagined system sees churches invited to pledge the amount they can give to support denominational ministries, rather than pay what annual synods asked for in a per-member amount. That system, which had been in place since 1862, was almost like a bill to be paid. But that assessment was a hardship to some churches, and in recent years only about 60% of shares were paid.
Now, once pledge amounts are received, the ministry agencies develop the budget, and finally the Council of Delegates approves the budget. The new system was approved by Synod 2019 and ratified by the Council of Delegates in 2020.
The result? “There’s not a lot for [synod’s financial matters advisory committee] to do with the budget,” said John Bolt, who is retiring this year after 19 years as director of finance and operations. “Synod’s only role is to invite the churches to make their pledges.”
Bolt, who envisioned the change, is pleased with the result. “It seems to make sense to put the nuts and bolts at the congregational level,” said Bolt. “The churches are at the beginning of the financial process instead of at the end, which I think is a better situation.”
The CRCNA website states that pledged ministry shares “provide about 29 percent of the budgets for our mission agencies, 27 percent of the budget for Calvin Theological Seminary and an average of 62 percent for various ministries that support CRC congregations.” World Renew does not receive ministry shares.
Synod 2022 is meeting at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-16. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod, download the Banner app on your mobile device, or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook. On Twitter follow #crcsynod or twitter.com/crcna. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church (it did not gather in 2020 or 2021). Connect to the meeting’s livestream, read advisory committee reports, and find other resources at crcna.org/synod.