There is value to sharing and working together. Not only is it more efficient than doing everything on our own, but we can often do more and stretch our dollars further when we pool our resources.
This idea of a “crowd funding” is something that the Christian Reformed Church has known for a long time. Already in 1862, a need was recognized by congregations of the newly formed Christian Reformed Church in North America to share their resources in order to do more and greater ministry in whatever part of the world to which God called them.
Originally, this program was called “assessments” and was used to fund Calvin College (now Calvin University), Calvin Seminary, the Ministers Pension Fund and Synodical Expenses. There were also “quotas” to fund “spontaneous special interest programs” such as missions.
In 1939, synod, the decision-making body of the Christian Reformed Church eliminated the distinction between “quotas” and “assessments” and referred to the entire program as “quotas”. Later, this term was renamed “ministry shares” to better reflect the collaboration and impact that these shared dollars have in making joint ministry possible.
Today, ministry shares remains a stewardly and cost-effective way of providing a solid foundation for our denomination. Through ministry shares, we are able to collectively:
- Train and credential pastors to be Ministers of the Word
- Help all of us take part in God's mission --in our congregations, communities, and in countries far away
- Equip churches be places that welcome and help people of all ages, abilities, and ethnic backgrounds to grow in faith and become leaders in their congregations and communities
- Creatively use media to share the Gospel, disciple believers and strengthen the global church
- Support chaplains as they minister to people in times of crisis
- Assist congregations through programs for church revitalization, pastor renewal, ethnic leadership development, and so much more.
It's an amazingly efficient system with low overhead costs that enables every CRC member to stretch their dollars further and participate in a variety of ministries more effectively and efficiently than any of us could do on our own.