Pease Crc Historical Photo Resized For Web

Leaving a 21st Century Legacy: One Church's Story

Article Type: Life Stories

Two years from now, stop by Pease, Minnesota for birthday cake – lots of it.

In 2020, the members of Pease Christian Reformed Church (CRC) will be celebrating their church’s 125th anniversary. Established in 1895 by Dutch settlers, members have ministered in the community for a century and a quarter.

Anticipating this birthday celebration, church leaders are asking, “What about the next 125 years?”

“Those who came before us left a legacy of a church building,” reflects Pastor Michael Ten Haken. “We don’t need another building, but we still want to sustain ministry for the long-term.”

But leaving a legacy in the 21st century looks very different than what it has in years past. “Planning for the future financially has changed a lot,” notes Pastor Ten Haken.

Pease has had a memorial fund for many years. Church members occasionally make a gift to it in memory of a deceased family member. This fund has been built up and spent down many times over the years to fund various church projects.

But church leaders determined a financial strategy with a much bigger horizon is needed. That’s why they decided to establish a Legacy Foundation through Barnabas Foundation.

“We had the right mix of people in leadership at the right time,” recalls Pastor Ten Haken. “They said, ‘We need to do this. Otherwise, we’re missing out on an opportunity to help people be good stewards of what the Lord has blessed them with.’”

The Pease CRC Legacy Foundation, established and administered by Barnabas Foundation, allows members to give to their church in smart and powerful ways, such as through wills, non-cash assets or in ways that provide income for life. Designations can be made for missions, a building fund or Christian education.

“This is for the long-term health, viability and future ministry opportunities of the congregation,” says Pastor Ten Haken.

Setting and sustaining a legacy for a church about to turn 125 years old is a tall order. But when the birthday cake gets cut, church members know they will be ready.

To learn more about establishing a Legacy Foundation at your church, contact Rev. Phil Leo at or call 888.448.3040.