The Christian Reformed Church of North America will be cutting staff from its publishing arm in response to profits that, while increasing, are still lagging.
The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Church's reduction in staff at Faith Alive Christian Resources is expected to be about 18 percent. Mark Rice, director of Faith Alive, told The Christian Post that this transition was part of the rapidly changing world of denominational publishing.
"Faith Alive has been experiencing declining revenues for several years and across many of its core categories like Sunday school curriculum," said Rice. "We have implemented numerous revenue-producing initiatives (e.g., digital publishing, hiring field sales representation, expanding distribution, etc.) and those initiatives are having an impact."
Rice told CP that while last year marked the first time since 2006 that revenues increased from the year before, the progress has not been enough to avoid the cost-cutting measure.
"But the revenue growth has not yet been enough to sustain Faith Alive long term and we had to face the reality of looking at staff reductions," said Rice. "The reductions, while difficult, are designed to help Faith Alive better focus on its core faith formation strengths."
According to a press release from CRC Communications, Faith Alive's "multifaceted initiative" to increase revenue has been working. This plan has included an increase in digital publishing and the receiving of additional support from the Ministry Shares program of the Church's synod. The synod's additional funding was approved at the annual meeting held in the summer. The reduction will involve cutting some positions and not filling others.
Faith Alive is not the only denominational publication recently looking to altering its activities in response to revenue issues. The United Methodist Publishing House's announced in November that they would be closing all Cokesbury bookstores over the next year.
According to UMPH, Cokesbury's services will be focused on four different venues: online sales, phone center, sales representatives, and involvement at various local events.
When asked by CP if he felt Faith Alive would survive this revenue issue and staff cutting, Rice responded that he did but that it would not be easy.
"I do, but the next nine to twelve months will continue to be a challenge," said Rice. "We will have to continue to live within our means and make choices about where to focus our limited resources in order to create the greatest value and most effective ministry for our customers."