You Add, God Multiplies

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"You Add, God Multiplies" is more than a catchy phrase, it's the reality of what happens when, as churches, we pool our resources to accomplish more ministry than we could do each on our own.  In the CRC denomination this is done through our contributions to Ministry Shares.  Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion about what Ministry Shares are and what they do. Then there are often questions asked about whether or not we (as congregations) should give toward them, particularly as the budgets get tight.

Thankfully this information is easily accessible on the CRCNA website.  Ministry Shares: Together Doing More is the title of the webpage loaded with information and resources for congregations.  It talks about what Ministry Shares are, who they benefit, who contributes and how the money is used.  It's a great source for deacons, as we may find ourselves heading into budget time needing to explain what these are, and why they are important.
 
And they are important. Absolutely.
 
Ministry Shares is an amazing program that we have the privilege of being involved in.  Sometimes when you're looking at the raw numbers on a spreadsheet, you might think "whoa! that's a lot!"  And it may seem that way.  But as Sheri Laninga pointed out earlier this year, it really only amounts to $26.40 per member, per month and look at all that comes from our donations to Ministry Shares!  We're part of a denomination that is working to make a difference in the world, and it's happening!
 
This week our council members each received a thin square box, within it there was a collection of round pieces of paper, each one highlighting a different Ministry Share recipient and talking about how God Multiplies the contributions we make to this program.  These resources are available through the denominational office, if you haven't received it yet. It is a helpful tool which clearly outlined each ministry and what was happening in that ministry.  It's pretty cool stuff, so take a peak at the website, and find out what's going on with ministry shares.
 
We really can do more together!
 
(I dug up this old ministry shares explanation video, because... well, because I like it, and thought you might too!  What's That? Ministry Shares)
Posted in: Deacons; Blog Photo courtesy of Denis Mihailov - http://www.flickr.com/photos/svintus2010/4643804213/in/photostream/ Image: See Credit

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What a timely post!  As our deacons are in the throws of creating next year's offering schedule, many were surprised to notice that the majority of the CRC recommended agencies are ones already receiving funding through Ministry Shares... not leaving many services left to dedicate to other ministries both within and without our denomination.  We love the idea of pooling our resources together to create a global presence for the Church and for God's kingdom but wondered if that is being done at the sake of actually being the hands and feet of Christ where we worship, work, and live-- ground level.  We know that many congregations are struggling with this as well. 

Last week our Council members received those boxes with circles that you mentioned... and were pretty confused!  Most saying things like, "What is this?, What do I do with it? Oh no, now I can't get it back together!" :)  I'm not sure how effective a promotional tool that was...

Jamie! I had to laugh with the "oh no, now I can't get it back together!".  SO TRUE!  I was enamoured with the clever + to X. :)

Last year our deacons received a letter from a member of the congregation inquiring as to how we select causes.  I posted the question on the Network earlier this year (Beyond the Budget) and one of the responses reminded me that even though select ministries receive ministry shares, this does not cover their full budget, and they still rely on other offerings.  The ministry shares drastically reduce the amount of fundraising that they need to do. 

That doesn't negate the difficult task deacons have of discerning what causes to contribute to - it is a difficult field to navigate with many options on both the local and denominational front.  You are absolutely right to say that it's a question many congregations are struggling with.  I would even say individual congregational members wrestle with that decision too!

At our small church (100 prof members) we raise ministry shares as part of the budget and provide offerings on Sunday for organizations mostly but not all outside the ministry shares program. We have no problem filling up the 52 slots consisting of worthwhile organizations, both local and national. CRWRC is one of the mail such organizations.

The disks have some information, but I would be surprised if it was found to be an effective tool. It did show that Ministry Shares sometimes provides only a small part of a group's budget.

Excellent point August.  I wonder - do you have any ideas about how the tool could have been structured to be more effective?

August and Jamie,

Thank you for your comments regarding the "You add...God Multiplies" communication to the churches. Jamie, your point is real and was acknowledged by the group developing the communication program. Local churches do have stress on their budget because of congregational administrative needs and a desire to initiate ministry in their own region or in other parts of the world. The CRCNA in its Ministry Share program is not trying to say that the ministries supported by Ministry Shares should be the only ministries supported by a congregation. God's Kingdom grows through Spirit led responses in congregations and produces diverse ministry. Over the decades Ministry Shares has proven to be an effective and efficient method of funding an array of North American and global Kingdom-building work. We praise God for that and hope participation in Ministry Shares brings you joy and inspires your congregation to even more ministry.

Very Best,

Pete

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