Your Input Needed: How Should We Talk About Our Shared Ministry?

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Did you know that every time you go to church, participate in congregational prayer, put money in the offering plate, or write a check for Ministry Shares, you are part of something much larger than yourself? Sometimes, we get so caught up in our individual ministries or our local congregations that we lose sight of this broader picture.

We are all part of God’s global church, and we are also part of a thriving denomination. The Christian Reformed Church in North America is made up of more than 1,000 congregations comprised of nearly 235,000 people. That’s a pretty big ministry team. As the CRCNA, we are doing some pretty amazing things for God’s kingdom.

Working together, we’ve been able to respond to disasters, plant churches, share the gospel, advocate for just policies, take a stand against institutional racism, combat global hunger, send out missionaries, produce Bible study materials, train chaplains, foster faith formation in children and young people, engage people of all abilities in worship, train pastors, produce international radio programs, distribute daily devotionals in multiple languages, and so much more.

As a denomination, we are joining where God is already at work, expressing the good news of God’s kingdom, and transforming lives and communities worldwide.

That is a lot to celebrate!

To help us remember, give thanks for, and continue to support this joint ministry, there is a special section for ministry stories in every monthly issue of our denominational magazine, The Banner.

This section used to be called “Church @ Work” because it focused on how our North American church was doing God’s kingdom work in the world.

In 2013, the name for this section was changed to “Together Doing More” to place the emphasis on the fact that this ministry is only possible when you, I, and all of the other people in our collective pews and chairs support it with their prayers, contribute their time, and give financial support.

While each of us might be able to do one small part of this ministry on our own, our efforts are multiplied when we pool our resources and work together.

Here are a few of my favourite “Together Doing More” posts:

In 2018, we’d like to give this section a fresh look and a new name. Please take a few minutes to let me know the types of stories that you’d like to see.

Are you interested in profiles about staff who are serving on your behalf? Would you enjoy reviews of new resources available for your congregation? Would you like to read about current trends and challenges that exist for ministry today? Or maybe you’d prefer to see photos and hear stories of men and women who are benefitting from the ministry that you’ve helped to make possible. Please let me know what would be meaningful to you as you continue to pray for and support this combined ministry.

While you’re at it, please let me know what you think this section should be called. A few names we are considering are:

  • Imprint - how are we leaving a mark in the world? How is God’s kingdom being made known through our work?
  • Our Calling – how are we jointly living out God’s call on our lives?
  • Wayposts – stories from the “road” of our joint ministry together

What do you suggest?

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This topic has become a big discussion for our congregation.  It seems that most people are unaware of what happens in our denomination and so they have a bad impression, since as we all know, bad news often spreads further than good news.  We have found that people don't tend to read written material whether it be in the bulletin, in their church mailboxes, or in the Banner.  So, we are attempting to find other way to share this information.  In my opinion the greatest impact is face-to-face, which we all know is difficult, at least the further you get away from Grand Rapids.  Next we have found that videos during the church services make an impact over time.  It needs to be in front of them multiple times.  That being said it would be nice to have more information passed on by way of videos.  It has been hard to find them.  Maybe they are being produced but we aren't receiving them.  A few years back a great video was made explaining ministry shares, but it would be nice to have consecutive weeks where specific ministries or agencies are highlighted in the CRCNA.

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Thanks Craig.  This is helpful feedback.  The unfortunate thing is that videos are expensive and time consuming to produce. If most churches aren't going to use them, or if a handful of churches are only going to show them once, it is hard for ministries to justify spending funds and time to make them.

With that said, I've been part of a few conversations recently about trying to create "less polished" videos that could still serve our needs, but at at lower cost.  Stay tuned.  

In the meantime, is there anything that you would like to see in print in the Together Doing More section of The Banner? Sounds like some good news stories from the denomination would be appreciated if we can cut through the clutter and get people to read them.

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