The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church in North America met on Sept. 25 and 26, 2014, at the Prince Conference Center on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
During this meeting the Board:
1. Expressed its gratitude for the work of the Strategic Planning and Adaptive Change Team (SPACT) in identifying significant challenges facing the Christian Reformed Church, and received the team’s final report. (Information about SPACT, including a copy of its report, is available on the web at www.crcna.org/spact.) The Board also:
a. Accepted the 13 challenges named in the SPACT report as important priorities that require attention and follow-up in the years ahead and decided to focus on five of the challenges as priorities during the first year. The five challenges, together with their desired outcomes as defined by the Board, are:
- Congregations are continuing to discover that they need to learn/relearn how to connect/reconnect with the local contexts in which they minister. Desired outcome: Congregations will connect with their local contexts providing the message of Christ.
- Many in the younger generations are increasingly disconnected from the CRC and are exiting. Desired outcome: Congregations will engage youth and young adults in the life of the church.
- There is an increased awareness in the church that something is missing with regard to discipleship, spirituality, and being spirit-led. Desired outcome: Congregations will focus on holistic lifelong faith formation.
- Lay leadership is under-emphasized and clergy formation processes are inadequate for engaging the challenges before the denomination. Desired outcome: Congregations will develop leaders, both clergy and lay, that will lead effectively in today’s challenging and diverse contexts.
- The direction and overall focus of the CRCNA are no longer clear, and our sense of shared identity is no longer self-evident. Desired outcome: Congregations will understand and express our shared identity in Christ.
b. Endorsed the recommendation of the Ministries Leadership Council (MLC) to appoint a development and implementation group to develop a plan based on these priorities and bring a proposal to the Board at its February 2015 meeting.
c. Requested the development of a plan to communicate the ministry plan and priorities and challenges, including translation of materials into other languages such as Korean and Spanish.
2. Spent time on a number of matters related to The Banner, including:
a. Appointing a committee to review the mandate of The Banner, as instructed by Synod 2014. The committee includes members from the Banner Advisory Council, the Board of Trustees, and members-at-large.
b. Accepting a letter from Rev. Robert De Moor stating his intent to retire as Banner editor effective August 2015 to go into fulltime pastoral ministry.
c. Approving appointments to the Banner Advisory Council.
d. Instructing the Board’s executive committee to begin the process of seeking an interim replacement for the Banner editor. The committee’s mandate is to identify a candidate to serve as interim editor from the summer of 2015 until the summer of 2016 and present the nominee to the Board in February 2015 and to Synod 2015 for ratification. The search for a new editor is to begin after completion of the Banner mandate review.
3. Approved a position description for the Director of Ministries and Administration and appointed members to a search committee to identify candidates for the position, with a mandate to present a nominee to the Board in February 2015 for appointment and, on behalf of synod, ratification.
4. Received an update from and provided feedback to the Task Force Reviewing Structure and Culture, which is seeking to develop a new paradigm for organizing denominational ministries.
5. Spent a portion of the meeting in new standing committees based on the “Five Streams” concept of ministry (faith formation; servant leadership; global missions; loving mercy and doing justice; and gospel proclamation and worship). This is intended to promote collaboration in the work of denominational agencies and ministries.
6. Convened in U.S. and Canada standing committees to review the Board agenda in their national contexts.
7. Approved changes to the bylaws of the CRCNA-Canada Corporation and the CRC Canada Foundation Board to bring them into compliance with new Canadian charity regulations. Also approved changes in the bylaws of the Canadian boards of World Missions, Home Missions and Back to God Ministries International.
8. Adopted changes to the Judicial Code, as requested by Synod 2014, for presentation and final approval to Synod 2015.
9. Received the results of a Board Governance Assessment Survey that had been completed by Board members in the spring. Recommendations arising from the survey will be brought to the Board at its meeting in February 2015.
10. Gathered on Thursday evening with the boards of World Missions, Home Missions, World Renew and Back to God Ministries International, as well as some board members from Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, for a time of fellowship and engagement with the adaptive challenges identified in the SPACT report.
11. Appointed an ad hoc committee to review current practices and suggest new methods for increasing diversity in the membership of denominational boards and committees, as desired by Synod 2014. The committee is to report to the Board in February 2015.
12. Heard that receipts of Ministry Shares declined by about 10 percent during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014. Part of the decline is attributed to a weaker Canadian dollar, but lower giving from the churches is responsible for the rest of the shortfall. Also heard that the August 2014 gift summary reflects a continuing slowdown in Ministry Shares income, but that there has been an increase in giving through church offerings and from individual donors and estate gifts. A staff group is working to address the decline in Ministry Shares giving.
- Feb. 26-27, 2015, in Burlington, Ontario
- May 7-8, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Sept. 24-26, 2015, simultaneous board meetings in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Feb. 25-26, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- May 5-6, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2016, simultaneous board meetings in Grand Rapids, Michigan
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Steven Timmermans, Executive Director