July 1 – Dec. 31, 2004
Overall, giving has increased compared to the same period last year. Ministry-share receipts were up by nearly $320,000, while above-ministry-share gifts increased by more than $1 million, for a combined increase of 5.5 percent. Disaster-relief gifts increased by $1.1 million, driven primarily by the response to the hurricanes in Florida and other southern states. Gifts from estates were up by more than $350,000.
Ministry-share giving is up by 2.9 percent over the same period last year and up by more than 5 percent from the budgeted levels expected. However, it’s important to remember that this does not reflect the full ministry shares approved by synod. Agencies, institutions, and ministries prepare their annual budgets anticipating that giving will follow the pattern of recent years, which amounts to about 70 percent of what would be raised if each congregation contributed its full ministry shares.
Above-ministry-share gifts are specific donations and special offerings received from churches and individuals. In total they’re projected to raise nearly $29 million this fiscal year. Above-ministry-share gifts were up by 7.6 percent during the first half of this fiscal year compared to the same period last year, but were slightly below budget. These gifts provide the primary source of funding for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), as this agency does not participate in ministry shares.
The total of disaster-relief gifts as of Dec. 31, 2004, does not reflect the tremendous outpouring of generosity that followed the tsunami tragedy in South Asia. That giving will be reflected in the gift income reported during the second half of this fiscal year.
—John Bolt, Director of Finance and Administration
What Are Ministry Shares?
God calls all of us to be his witnesses. It’s a task that we share—one that requires our hearts, our hands, our prayers, and our financial resources.
As part of the Christian Reformed Church, one of the important ways in which we participate together in this work is known as “ministry shares.” This uniquely Christian Reformed revenue tool has its roots at the very beginning of our denomination.
Ministry shares are requested from organized churches based on the number of active adult confessing members. One of the key attributes of the ministry-share program is that there is little or no administrative collection cost. To raise the same amount of money through fundraising would cost between $3 million and $4 million a year.
Not all gift income from churches is ministry shares. Some comes in the form of special offerings for an individual agency or educational institution. These funds are called “above ministry share” gifts. While some congregations choose not to contribute the requested ministry shares, many still contribute an above-ministry-share amount.