Evaluating Ministry Partners?

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My church is probably similar to other churches in the denomination in that we partner with a variety of ministries each year. In partnership, we pray for these partners on a regular basis, as well as provide support to their work (usually financial support). Our ministry partners include a number of missionaries through Resonate Global Mission, church plants, and ministries outside of the denomination.

We are looking for ways to evaluate our relationship with our ministry partners. I'm curious about how other churches evaluate their relationships. Do you put term limits on how long you support a ministry partner (i.e. 3 to 5 years)? Do you use a term limit and then evaluate each partner at the end of the term? Do you use certain criteria to evaluate your relationship with each ministry on a regular basis? Perhaps you don't do anything to evaluate your relationship with your ministry partners. I'm curious to hear from all sides.

Thanks,

Nate

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Community Builder

Hi Nate... this is a good question.

Missionaries who work for Resonate have to prepare an annual program budget.

That budget forms the basis of the support they need. So each Missionary will have access to how much money has be sent to CRCNA HO (Burlington or GR) in the past.

They and the missionary also know where/who these funds have come from. To make donations tax deductible (I only can speak for Canada) they have to come via a church or via Burlington.

If your church receives a request from a missionary you have to start with the budget for the program. Then find out from where current support comes from and if there is a shortfall. The missionary should be able to say up front that support from X, Y and Z church are going to cease in the next year and is looking for other churches. That sets the stage for the need. A specific amount should be requested. 

A missionary may have private means of support and they only have to state those in total or as a percentage of the total. These supports are normally committed over a longer period. But in the event of an individual supporter passing away a missionary could be faced with a greater need. Explaining that should not be hard to do.

My personal view is that if the local church wants to provide support they should do so via a commitment that has at least a 3 year term. The amount should then become a budget item subject to review 12 months before the 3 years is up. Mission projects with Resonate tend to be for a longer periods so I see nothing wrong with a ten year support package with tri-annual review. (Every three years)

In our church we did have a discussion on whether there should be separate Sunday collections. I see no problem with that but it has to be understood by the congregation the amount committed will be paid in full if collections do not cover the amount requested. My personal preference is to make it part of the budget that is collected in the usual way.

We had an excellent experience with one missionary who provided a detailed "Resonate Budget" showing income and expenses and several items for special consideration. These were well thought out.

The beauty of this was that when they came to visit (also to preach a sermon!!) we were all able to ask good question about the work because we had all the facts.

Part of the outcome of the request should also be a commitment from the missionary to communicate.  With all the means of communication we have today that should not be a problem. But it should be manageable at the missionary level. Twice a year and visit once every three years.

 (If a missionary gets support from across the continent that could present a problem for travel when on furlong. This something the missionary and the support staff in CRCNA HO should be watching.)

Community Builder

It's important to have a mission, vision and values for your missions efforts. There are several resources available to help you determine your missional DNA. One that I often recommend is Focus Your Ministry by Catalyst Services.