Like everything else, the cost of doing ministry together rises every year. Synod bumped up denominational ministry share from last year’s $280.08 to $289.88, an increase of 3.5 percent.
“Ministry share” is that portion of denominational funding that churches are asked to pay based on the number of members they have who have made public profession of faith, are 18 years of age or older, and who are actively participating in the life of the church. It is anticipated that this will contribute $26.5 million in addition to the roughly $31.0 million dollars to be raised through donations and estate giving for the broader ministries of the CRC.
The Canadian exchange rate is not factored into the ministry-share equation. The dollar amount requested per member is the same for both countries ($289.88).
Not all churches pay their full amount of ministry shares. The denomination’s director of finance, John Bolt, pointed out that 15 percent of Christian Reformed congregations, mostly smaller churches, pay no ministry share at all. And fully 40 percent of all Christian Reformed churches pay 75 percent or less. So, overall, the amount of ministry share collected is only 70 percent of that set by synod. The denomination covers that lack of funding through “above ministry share” gifts from donors and special offerings.
Despite this ongoing shortfall, Bolt observed, the ministry-share system remains a vital element of denominational financing “because the cost required in acquiring these funds is so minimal. And these funds are not only used for administrative purposes. The bulk goes directly to fund ministries that we conduct together as a denomination.”
In two separate decisions, synod asked the denomination’s Board of Trustees to evaluate future funding allocations with an eye to increasing the amount that goes to outreach ministries, and asked Calvin Theological Seminary’s board of trustees to consider the affordability of seminary tuition costs to students.
Where Your Money Is Spent
|Ministry Share Breakdown for 2007*|
|Back to God Hour||$42.83|
|Calvin Theological Seminary||34.52|
|Smaller Church Assistance (supplementary)||10.00|
|Ministries in Canada||6.89|
|Special Assistance Fund***||1.32|
|Total Per-Member Assessment $289.88|
The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee receives no ministry share, nor do the Ministers’ Pension Funds. Churches are assessed separately for the latter.
* These amounts represent allocation for $289.88 ministry share for the 2007 fiscal year budget
** Abuse Prevention, Chaplaincy Ministries, Disability Concerns, Pastor-Church Relations, Race Relations
*** A fund that supplements the pensions of needy pastors or spouses of deceased pastors