Get this: 25% of the funding for “Our Call” is expected to come from closing down existing RCA congregations and using their assets.
That’s the story according to the Church Herald, May 2008, page 28. The cost of “Our Call” is projected at $60 million. Where’s that going to come from? $15 million of that (25%) is to come from classes that have designated funds for church planting.
Where will classes get the money for these funds? According to the Church Herald, “the Church Multiplication Team projects that if an average of ten existing RCA congregations were closed per year by their classis [sic], and if the assets from half of the closings were sold and designated for church planting, roughly $15 million would be generated over six years.”
Here come the revenuers! So, here is a new incentive to supersede consistories and close down churches: to get their assets. We need to sacrifice 5 or 10 of these a year.
Watch: it will be urban churches. They are often those that struggle most, whose operating costs are highest, but whose property and buildings are also most valuable. So the incentive for classes will be no longer to nurture struggling churches along (I have argued elsewhere that the first job of the classis is to love its congregations) but to close them down and take their assets.
Superseding, till now, as Jim Reid has pointed out, has been about a classis managing the assets of a church during a time of weakness. Now classes have an incentinve to take the assets of a church during a time of weakness. Classes will be tempted to look for reasons to supersede.
That’s just one part of the funding plan. Read the rest of it. Read it carefully, add up the numbers. It’s about as responsible a funding plan as what we are offered for the Iraq War.
Reaganomics was called “Voodoo Economics” because it was based, not on reality, but purely on vision, theory, and projection. And it was manifestly unfair to the poor of America, especially the urban poor.
Look for an increased use of supersession in the Reformed Church, but not as a means to restart a ministry in the same place, but as a means to cannibalize assets.