In 1862, Christian Reformed congregations recognized that some of the ministries to which Christ calls us can be difficult to do on our own. They covenanted to pool their resources in order to do more and greater ministry together. This system, still implemented today, is very cost-effective and is a big reason why the CRC is able to support a range of ministry programs that is unparalleled for a denomination of our size.
Ministry Shares are a gift. They support mission and ministry both here at home and around the world. They are not membership dues or a tax. When you give to the ministry shares program you are supporting and contributing to the work of spreading the Gospel around the world. You are supporting churches within the denomination that need help or are looking to grow their ministry with the help of the denomination.
Where does the money go?
The Christian Reformed Church uses ministry shares to fund a variety of requested ministries both within North America and around the world. The vast majority of every dollar of ministry shares goes directly to ministry programs that start new churches, train servant leaders, support chaplains, resource congregations, and reach out to our neighbors through media and evangelism.
Do ministry shares pay for everything our denomination does?
No, but they are the foundation for much of it. Ministry shares provide about 37 percent of the budgets for our mission agencies (excluding World Renew), 25 percent of the budget for Calvin Theological Seminary and an average of 63 percent for various ministries that support CRC congregations. World Renew, which was started as an outreach of CRC deacons, does not receive ministry shares.
Are ministry shares really a good way to raise money?
Yes! Ministry shares are an amazingly efficient and stewardly way for us to accomplish ministry together. Over the years, as synod decided to start new programs, we’ve used ministry shares as a way of enabling all of our congregations to contribute towards the costs. In this way, every initiative is truly part of our shared ministry.
In addition, fundraising is expensive. Without the ministry share system, our agencies would have to spend millions of dollars each year to raise the funds they need. Using ministry shares reduces these extra costs and allows more of every dollar given to go directly to ministry. The roughly $18.4 million of ministry shares contributed each year cost less than 20 cents per $100 to administer. The same amount of gifts raised through individual donations solicited by fundraising staff would cost over $20 per $100 to administer.
How much should my congregation give?
Synod 2019 suggested, and a special meeting of the COD in 2020 approved, a new method of continuing our covenant together. Instead of setting a specific amount per member, they recommend that each congregation prayerfully consider how much it can contribute towards our shared ministry efforts.
Ways churches determine their pledge?
Churches could take the amount they gave last year and increase by a specific percentage.
Churches could pledge ministry shares based on a percentage of their budget. For example, a tithe of 10% or 15% of their church budget could be given to the ministry shares program.
A congregation could determine an amount per member that works best for their congregation.
What happens if my congregation doesn't give?
Ministry Shares are the foundation for much of our shared ministry work. In some cases, ministry shares can be more than 60% of a ministry’s budget. When congregations choose not to support ministry shares or reduce their giving significantly, the ministries and agencies of the CRCNA are unable to provide the same level of service – even to congregations and communities in need. In these instances, ministries will be unable to expand their mission work, and may even be unable to maintain what they had been doing previously.
Is my church giving to ministry shares?
Ask your deacon, elder, or church treasurer. Some congregations faithfully pay their full ministry shares every year. Thank you!