The RCA’s chief financial officer (CFO) Jillisa Teitsma has accepted a new role as director of finance at Calvin University; she will conclude her work for the denomination on August 31.
Teitsma joined GSC staff in 2007 as an assistant controller and subsequently served as the controller. She has served as CFO since 2015, and as the treasurer of the General Synod (including the Board of Benefits Services and the Church Growth Fund) since 2016. She has also served on the GSC staff’s strategic leadership team (SLT) and its predecessor, the executive leadership team, since 2015.
“I am grateful to the RCA for allowing me to develop as a leader while at the same time supporting a growing family,” says Teitsma. “Together with wonderful colleagues, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot.”
Teitsma cites the adoption of covenant shares as one of the accomplishments of which she’s most proud.
“A number of reasons contributed to the change to covenant shares, but rising to the top was a desire for an equitable contribution system where churches could contribute proportionally based on their means,” she says. “The RCA is called to live in community with one another and to contribute to that community that we are a part of. In 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, the apostle Paul describes our desire to equitably support our shared work—that those who have much do not have too much, and those who have little do not have too little.”
The covenant shares proposal was approved by General Synod 2019 and ratified by General Synod 2022; General Synod 2023 set the first covenant shares rate, which goes into effect for calendar year 2024.
Other highlights of her tenure, Teitsma says, include reducing participant fees charged to the Board of Benefits Services’ retirement plan, reducing the GSC budget, and establishing a board-designated endowment in order to align with the reality of fewer churches in the RCA.
“These accomplishments are most certainly a result of the collaborative efforts of RCA staff and constituents. I could not have done them alone,” says Teitsma. “I’m particularly grateful to the finance staff. This team functions so well together and each one of them is committed to the mission and ministry of the RCA.”
“This is a big loss for the Reformed Church in America. We are in a solid financial position today because of the work that Jillisa and her finance team have done,” says general secretary Eddy Alemán. “Jillisa has been a really important player in the work we do as a denomination for many years.
“We wish Jillisa well in her new role at Calvin University.”
“In addition to staff colleagues, I am beyond grateful for what I have learned from RCA members serving on RCA boards and committees,” says Teitsma. “Working collaboratively with board and committee members has been a pure joy. I wish to thank the boards and committees for trusting me with this work.”
In her new role, Teitsma returns to her alma mater. She will also share the campus with her daughter, who recently graduated high school and begins as a student at Calvin University in the fall.
Lisa Stover, director of finance and facilities, will step in as interim CFO and treasurer until a new person is hired, while continuing to carry out her regular responsibilities. Interim responsibilities include assisting SLT in finalizing the 2024 budget, attending board and committee meetings, and providing any financial insight directors and their boards require.