In our congregation the deacons meet in November to set the offering schedule for the following year. Using the deacon's helper resource, sifting through the pile of offering requests received throughout the year and sensing the heart of God in the congregation, they prayerfully discern what causes to support.
This year, a question was raised to our deacon team about the causes they had chosen to support. The question was this: when we as members are already contributing through denominational and classical shares to specific ministries, why are we also designating many of our weekly offerings to these same causes? (The question was not intended to be a slight towards our deacons, but rather was brought forward out of a desire to have transparency in knowing how much we were actually giving where, particularly when we have hesitated to bring on another staff person because of the budget).
I am curious as to how other congregations designate their offering causes. I know location and ties to specific ministries may create variance in answers (ie. a congregation in Grand Rapids supporting Calvin College vs. one in California), however, how do we support well both the denominational family we are part of and the local community we find ourselves active (and desiring to be more active) in?