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Have you noticed the trend of sharing in our society? Instead of owning everything ourselves, it is now common to use ride-sharing programs such as Uber or to rent a vacation home through Airbnb. We can find financial backing for new business ventures through peer-to-peer lending platforms, and can even access our own share of organic produce by participating in community-supported agriculture.

It seems that society has learned that there is value to sharing and working together. Not only is it more efficient than doing it on our own, but we can often do more and stretch our dollars further when we pool our resources.

This is something that the Christian Reformed Church has known for a long time. Since its earliest days, the CRC has encouraged congregations and members to combine their funds in order to provide shared ministry that benefits us all. This system is called ministry shares and is a stewardly and cost-effective way of providing a solid foundation for our denomination.

The attached PDF provides a quick overview about ministry shares and how they work.  It is an idea resource for new member orientation or for congregational meetings where the budget is being discussed.  Note that this document is also available in Korean and Spanish.

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Thanks for this discussion. I have wondered if Pareto's rule:   20/80 (20% of churches raise 80% of the funds) this rule can apply to many more situations.  Somewhere in the church's info base there must be a list of what churches pay x percentage of the ministry shares.  While I have no desire to see the list I wonder if the church could categorize the size of the church (in number of professing members) and provide the % of ministry shares paid. Groups could be sorted with churches up to 100 members, churches with 100-150 members, churches with 200-300 members and churches with 300-500 members and churches with over 500 members.  Just list the number of churches by each number and the average amount of ministry shares paid.

In some narrow way it might also help define "healthy" church groupings.

The CRCNA (Resonate) has made some headway in asking congregations (and missionaries) to get more involved in the funding of their (its) ministries.  The decision processes at both congregations and Resonate around this are not well developed.  Congregations lack specific details of the program spending (not simply salary) of the missionary. There is also no feedback on how much any individual missionary has raised. A missionary supported by, say, 3 churches... were the total funds raised sufficient? If more than sufficient where did or do the extra funds go?

What I would like to see is an individual program designed and costed by the missionary, approved by Resonate and put in a format of a hand out.  To cover the issue of salary privacy the only thing churches need to know is what scale missionaries are paid on. (That info is provided for senior church executives in the agenda for synod each year) I am sure such a scale exists for others employed by the church.

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