Changes to CRWM’s Missionary Support Model

May 2013

Thank you for your faithful partnership with Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) in spreading God’s message of salvation worldwide. Through your prayers, encouragement, and financial support, CRWM missionaries are calling people around the world to follow Jesus.

As our missions partner, you share in our joys and struggles. You join us in celebrating when another person comes to Christ. You praise God with us when Christians realize that their faith should influence their actions. So now, we trust that you will stand with us as we respond to pressing financial challenges.

Over the last two decades, CRWM has increasingly struggled to send out career missionaries amid rising costs and gradual decline of Ministry Shares. In 1990, CRWM reached a peak of 140 career missionary positions (when including spouses, 250 career missionaries). Since then, CRWM has seen its career missionary positions shrink to 52 (under 100 missionaries, when including spouses). Unless something changes, CRWM may have fewer than 35 career missionaries by 2020. The fewer missionaries CRWM sends, the fewer people hear and are challenged by the Gospel message.

CRWM yearly receives requests and sees opportunities to be involved in exciting ministry opportunities. However, CRWM often has to turn down these opportunities. Indeed, in recent years, CRWM has had trouble retaining existing positions. CRWM must make changes to continue sharing the Gospel and strengthening believers.

So, CRWM is shifting to a new missionary support system as of July 1, 2013. In the past, CRWM career missionaries had a support raising goal of 60% of the yearly worldwide averaged missionary cost. Now career missionaries will see the goal gradually rise to 90% of their individualized budgets. Ministry Shares will continue to play a significant role during this transition. Newly appointed missionaries will need support commitments at 90% of their individualized budgets before being sent to the field. This new missionary support system will enable CRWM to replace retiring missionaries and send out new missionaries when they’re urgently needed.

The new individualized budgets separate “basic costs” from “above basic costs”. Above basic costs include continuing education and training costs, on-field travel, missionary children’s travel to and from the field, education fees for missionary children, and outfitting and reentry allowances. Ministry Shares will continue to cover above basic costs as well as 10% of the basic costs.

Ministry Shares currently fund about 36% of CRWM’s budget. As CRWM transitions to this new missionary support model we envision the same amount of Ministry Shares will be used to fund an expanded missionary force.

Basic costs are the items which will be included in the missionary support raising goal. These costs include salary, taxes, housing, retirement contributions, insurance, travel to and from the field for the missionary (and Spouse), and minimal support staff costs.

To bring missionaries up to 90% of their individualized basic budgets, current career missionaries will see their support goal, based on current income figures, rise an additional 5% every year while they’re on the field. During their home service, they’ll work with office staff to increase support by 10%. Missionaries who currently receive less than 55% of their budget will see their support goal increase by 15% during their next home service.

Most missions organizations have already shifted to this type of support model. This has helped their organizations stay financially healthy and even allowed them to expand their ministries. CRWM is hopeful a similar missionary support model will enable us to continue ministering effectively for many years.

We realize that our new missionary support model will be a big step for many career missionaries. So we’ve created a plan to help missionaries reach their new goals.

CRWM office staff will help career missionaries develop a support team to help them build up the network of people and churches that support their ministry. Additionally, one staff member will modify his job focus to make time to coach missionaries on support-raising. CRWM will also offer and lead yearly training events to mentor missionaries on building support. On top of all of this, we’ve created and are promoting a new missionary support fund, named for Johanna Veenstra. Through these efforts, and the faithful support of partners like you, CRWM will continue having career missionaries serving around the world.

The 13-14 budgets for ministries you support are as follows:

Missionary

2013-14 Budget

13-14 Percentage

Minimum Goal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for your faithful partnership. Join us in praying that God may continue working through CRWM to bring many people to Himself.

In Him,

Gary J. Bekker
Director
Christian Reformed World Missions

P.S. Please contact Lois Craven if you have any questions about CRWM’s new missionary support system. You can reach her by emailing lcraven@crcna.org or calling 1-800-346-0075 or 616-224-0751.