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One of the questions I'm often asked when I visit churches is, "What exactly is the difference between CRWM and World Renew?" Many churches aren't sure whether their missionaries work for CRWM or World Renew. Yet these two agencies have very different purposes, and serve different functions. The following article attempts to articulate how these ministries differ.

It is often said that CRWM is the “word” ministry of the Christian Reformed Church and that World Renew is the “deed” ministry. However, anyone in ministry knows that you cannot have one without the other. Any word ministry must also have action; and deed ministry must be accompanied by word. CRWM and World Renew are very much sister agencies, and as with any sisters, there are distinctions between them.

Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM)

Established on June 18, 1888 by the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), CRWM is a missions agency that helps CRC congregations to fulfill the Great Commission. CRWM partners with nearly 1,100 CRCNA congregations in Canada and the United States as well as with organizations and individuals around the world to proclaim the Gospel, promote healthy churches, and to do our part to advance God’s Kingdom.

CRWM has missionaries serving in more than 20 countries and, through partnerships, our work extends to more than 40 countries.

CRWM focuses its efforts around the world on:

  • Multiplying believers and churches—partnering with others to plant churches and share the Good News, focusing on the least reached
  • Equipping and connecting leaders—for both church and community leaders
  • Reaching students and teachers with a biblical worldview—training and partnering with Christian educators
  • Strengthening churches and organizations—increasing the ability of churches and organizations to apply the Gospel to their context

Through our partnerships and direct efforts in these areas, the Gospel of Jesus flows into communities and lives, bringing the transformation and renewal only found through Christ.

Key strategies include:

  • Mobilizing CRCNA congregations for greater missions involvement.
  • Strengthening Christians in the CRCNA and its international partners
  • Working with global networks and movements to advance the reign of Christ.

CRWM encourages and mobilizes CRCNA congregations to get involved in missions by sending missionaries, serving as volunteers, and by supporting missions work through prayer and finances. We do our best to strengthen all of our partners both here in North America and abroad in the area of missions. We give them opportunities to learn, to get involved, and to support mission work.

World Renew (formerly known as CRWRC)

World Renew, founded on February 23,1962, is the relief and development arm of the CRCNA. World Renew reaches out in God's name to people, both in North America and around the world, who are struggling with poverty, hunger, disaster, and injustice to help them find lasting ways to improve their lives.

One aspect of this ministry is community development. In this ministry World Renew's staff members engage in community transformation in 30 countries around the world. They partner with more than 84 churches and community organizations to train local people to be leaders in their own communities. Together, World Renew and these partners help people work together to overcome illiteracy, hunger, malnutrition, unemployment, HIV and AIDS, child mortality, injustice, and other issues affecting them.

Another aspect of World Renew's ministry is disaster response and relief. When disasters strike, World Renew responds to the urgent needs that result. In North America, this often includes clearing debris, assessing needs, training local leaders, and repairing or rebuilding damaged homes. Internationally, it includes providing and distributing emergency food, water, shelter, and other supplies. It also often involves reconstruction of homes and livelihoods.

The third aspect of World Renew's ministry involves working with people in North America and around the world to connect them to ministry through work teams, volunteer opportunities, tours and church to church partnerships; deepen their understanding of global issues, and encourage them to act and advocate on behalf of those in need.

Do CRWM and World Renew work together?

Both agencies work primarily through and support indigenous partner organizations. In countries where both CRWM and World Renew are present, there is often coordination; however their partners may be different. For example, CRWM partners tend to be denominations, mission agencies, Christian schools, and pastor training organizations. World Renew partners tend to be diaconal ministries of denominations and other church-based organizations that work with the community to build on the strengths of its people to bring about improvements in the areas of literacy, water, hunger, agriculture, and the like.

How are CRWM and World Renew funded?

CRWM receives 35.8% of its funding through Ministry Shares and is recommended for offerings on Pentecost Sunday. World Renew does not receive ministry shares, but the synod recommends four offerings a year for World Renew’s general fund.

BOTH need your support to continue their ministries.

How can I find out more?

Christian Reformed World Missions
Canada: 800-730-3490

World Renew
Canada: 800-730-3490
U.S.: 1-800-552-7972


Maybe because it was published at 5 AM over two years ago, I missed this gem of a reflection.  My friend who wrote it should really go to work for a PR firm that specializes in glossing over things and putting on the best face, even while underneath the body suffers.

For us veterans of the - yes, fights - between these "sisters," this article just describes the present because the past has been so sad.  And the lack of real collaboration/coordination/cooperation on so many "fields" (following the lead of the home offices in spite of some very good attempts otherwise) has led to a paucity of results in too many places.  There are not many places where we can point to a thriving church with a holistic ministry where Word and Deed are a natural integral expression of what our theory is.  Why?  Dual agencies/administrations by nature replicate dual structures.  

In a couple of Central American countries the national Christian Reformed churches have practically no working relationship with the new model of going with NGOs as the preferred expression of the CRCNA there.  Please give a critical re-read of the paragraph "Do CRWM and World Renew work together?"  We are not surprisingly replicating our grand mistake of  allowing the divorce of 50 years ago to go on and on.  And my sense of things is that the boomerang of ecclesiastical history has come home to debilitate our whole bi-national denomination, as evidenced by the malaise and decline so lamented by many of us who did what we could to do it differently. 

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