For many years the Christian Reformed Church has pooled some revenue from its more than 1,000 local congregations to bring shared ministry to the ends of the earth. The money collected from congregations is called ministry shares.
In recent years ministry shares have not been received at the rate assessed, so Synod 2007 appointed a task force to study whether the ministry-share system is still the best way for the churches to share in ministry together.
The task force recommended, and Synod 2009 agreed, that the ministry-share system is still the best method to fund denominational ministry but that congregations and members need to know more about how it works.
So in addition to sticking with the current system, delegates voted to allocate up to 1 percent of the denomination’s annual receipts toward educating church members about the ministry-share model.
According to John Bolt, the CRC’s director of finance, ministry shares fund only a portion of the work of the denomination. However, those dollars are raised at almost zero cost.
“If we use that 1 percent of ministry-share revenue to educate people, we’ll be spending about $240,000 to help raise the $24 million projected for ministry shares,” he said. “That’s tough to beat.”
Fundraising for what are termed “above ministry share gifts” that fund the rest of the budget costs 10 times that amount to raise similar dollars.
“Ministry shares are a good way to make ministry work,” said Rev. Bruce Persenaire, Classis Central California. “There may come a time when we have to abandon the system, but now is not that time.”