Resource, Policy or Guidelines

If your congregation is still wrestling with the question of whether or not to require background checks, here are a few guidelines to help you through the evaluation process.

January 1, 2017 2 2 comments
Resource, Procedure

Attached is a Ministry Evaluation form tool that was developed by one church to assist in evaluating their ministry programs by gathering feedback from volunteer ministry leaders.

January 1, 2017 0 1 comments
Resource, Checklist

On January 1, 2017, new accessibility requirements come into effect from the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Is your church ready?

December 7, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource

Planning offerings for the coming year? Use this online (or printable) calendar to help plan the offering schedule for your church. 

December 6, 2016 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

The changes involving Home Missions and World Mission are really significant (lots of time, effort, resources and money are being spent on this). Let's discuss these changes in one place on The Network.  

November 14, 2016 0 1 comments
Resource, Job Description

This position description is intended to provide a broad overview of the position Associate Pastor. 

November 10, 2016 0 0 comments
Q&A

Can anyone share with me their staffing grid (job position titles and how many hours each position works) for a church with 300-350 members?

November 7, 2016 0 2 comments
Q&A

Are World Missions & Home Missions still two separate ministries? I had heard that they were combining. Our church has been taking separate offerings for them and I was wondering if that is correct. 

November 1, 2016 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

Our pastor will be going to another church in January after service for 17 years. I would like to find some resources to help plan a farewell service. Any fun or meaningful ideas?

October 31, 2016 0 1 comments
Q&A

Our church (Trinity CRC) is considering changing to the model of having a Senior Pastor and an Associate Pastor. Do you use this model? If so, would you be willing to share job descriptions for BOTH positions? 

October 26, 2016 0 2 comments
Q&A

Have any churches considered switching from a 501(c)(3) status to 508(c)(1)(a)?

September 12, 2016 0 0 comments
Q&A

Does anyone presently use cloud storage for Council documents or have tips/suggestions for an online storage of Council files?

September 12, 2016 0 7 comments
Q&A

We are looking for a good computer program to access our membership records. Got any recommendations for something that's easy to use and makes it easy to access information? 

September 8, 2016 0 1 comments
Q&A

I am a clerk of council and need to transfer the credentials of a minister who has since retired and joined another congregation. Is this an actual form or can I simply draft a letter?

September 7, 2016 0 1 comments
Q&A

Do we need to expand our articles of incorporation to reflect our relationship with the CRC and more? 

June 2, 2016 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

What's the best way to let church volunteers know they're appreciated? If you've been a volunteer, what expression of "thanks" has meant the most to you?

March 28, 2016 0 2 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

You don’t need a reminder that Easter is quickly approaching. But as you’re fine-tuning your plans, I want to offer a few ideas for how you can make sure your work benefits the most people possible. 

February 18, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Here are some of the financial administrative responsibilities connected with managing an overseas ministry that your church should consider (based on experience with my own church).

February 5, 2016 0 4 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The Key Federal Tax Figures displays variables from previous fiscal years to the current fiscal year.

February 3, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Four years ago, CRCNA communications staff launched "Webinar Wednesdays" as a “no travel required” means for people in the CRC to get training and resources in a series of free, one-hour events...

January 13, 2016 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

I know the church directory is intended to be a resource for members to be able to contact each other. Yet I wonder, is it being used? 

November 16, 2015 0 15 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires all organizations that serve the public to adopt a Customer Service Policy. Here's a sample policy for churches to consider. 

November 5, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Website

The Multilingual Gateway on IRS.gov contains federal tax information in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. You'll find useful forms for personal as well as church tax requirements. 

October 12, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

Organizing and planting a new church requires careful planning and implementation. Keep reading to find practical help on the legal and financial aspects of organizing. 

October 8, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

None of the volunteers drew attention to themselves. So they didn’t get much attention. For this reason, churches need to be alerted. We agreed and gave it a name: Pastor and Ministry Appreciation. 

October 5, 2015 0 0 comments

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Great idea to post about PCO, Adom!  We started using Planning Centre Online at Faith Church in Burlington about 4 years ago. Here are some notes based on our experience.

I highly recommend PCO for any church team, especially where you have one or two technology champions who can assist others with the rollout. There is a huge range of options -- many of which we don't use -- and for those comfortable with using software, it is very intuitive.PCO is an amazing worship planning tool (and more), especially used in conjunction with CCLI. I use a lot of SAAS (Software as a Service) tools in my line of work and PCO is better than most from a user design perspective (not to say there weren't some growing pains from less tech savvy users). They continue to make improvements over time.

Planning Centre Online has been branching into other areas such as volunteer management and online giving. Based on my experience with PCO to date, I suspect those tools would also be great.

Here are some highlights of the features we use most:

- Scheduling - team members (including pastors and AV volunteers) can block out their dates in advance so that our scheduler knows who is available when.

- Email Notifications - A reminder is automatically sent a week in advance to anyone who is scheduled for the next Sunday.

- Planning - we have a general service template so that all of the regular pieces of the order of worship are there. Then you simply drag and drop your songs into the template. The planning matrix view allows you to see past Sunday plans alongside your current plan so that you can avoid repeating songs too often. Our pastor has started to pre-populate the plans in advance with his sermon themes and Bible passages, so that worship leaders can get started planning their services as early as possible.

- Worship Plans/Cue Sheets - Once a service is planned, a one-page PDF of the plan can be sent to all of the team members who are scheduled, along with a note where you can provide special instructions or additional information about the service.

- Reporting - PCO keeps track of when and how often you use songs and allows you to generate reports.

- Music Stand App - I am the only team member who has taken advantage of the Music Stand app but for me it has been a huge game changer. I use my iPad to lead worship. I see the chord sheet in the key of my choice and I advance the page or backtrack using a bluetooth foot pedal. - I am also able to attach prepared notes such as introductory words and prayers and include that on my screen. There are some cool built-in features, including a metronome, and notation and highlighting tools. While the rest of the team sorts through paper file folders to gather their music, I just put my iPad in it's holder and open the app.

 

 

 

 

I've used PCO also as a volunteer at my church.  I really enjoyed having the option to review the sheet music or listen to the music at home.

Thanks for posting this, Adom. Looks like a pretty great tool (and built with a very modern interface). I'd be curious to hear how other churches are using it as well. 

I thought it would be helpful to add a link to their website: planning.center

Sorry this article is 4 years old. They have changed their info since it was written. It is worth the money for us

You are mistaken. Nothing about it is free. We're small and looking but your advertisment was misleading

Thank-you Terry!  My board was wondering if we could sign up for CCCC via the denomination but I suspected we would need to get our own registration.    I have found them essential when I was working in small grass route charities but the board is not as familiar with them.  I had forgotten about charitylaw.ca and will add them to my resources.

I'm so thankful to have a place to ask questions like these!

Victoria

Thanks so much Dick.  Hamilton Classis has a lot of information that will help me.

I have to remember how far reaching the Network is for future questions! 

Victoria

I very much recommend becoming a member of the CCCC's, subscribing to their charity newsletters and accessing their Charities Handbook and other helpful resources.  The denomination, CRCNA, is a CCCC member and has benefited greatly as a result.  My local congregation is also a member.

Another invaluable information resource in the areas you have listed is http://www.charitylaw.ca/

Terry V 

oops, meant to reply but added a new post. reply below.

We now use planning center people as our principle database and have built custom reports for household reports, printed directory, etc. The online directory is by a company called adjace that links to planning center people.

Integration is done with zapier. However, planning center has not built in webhooks yet so it's not quite perfect.

Victoria: It would appear that you are serving a church in Ontario. Feel free to check the Classis Hamilton Website at this link http://www.classishamilton.ca/-1/. You might find some helpful material there.

As to whether CCCC membership is valuable, I am of the view that it is.

Dick

What database program are you using that links to your office 365??! That would be awesome! I currently have to update contact information in so many places!

Do we know what the long term footprint is for things that are posted on the cloud and then deleted? I have switched from storing virtually everything on dropbox to an in-house server primarily to stay ahead of legalities and for our own comfort. However, I like the idea of google drive for council agendas. Could we keep permanent storage in-house but temporarily provide agendas online? Or is there no such thing as temporary with the internet?

Willoughby Church in Langley BC has a Lead Pastor and Youth Pastor both 100%, a children's pastor/ministry coordinator 50% and a worship coordinator 50%. Also a full time administrator and an office assistant a few hours a week.

Hope that helps!

Julia

Thanks for posting this, Harry. Any specific questions or thoughts you'd like to share on this new thread?

Here is a sample job description for an Associate Pastor that assumes there is also a Senior Pastor. Let me know if this helps or if you have any other questions. 

Good question. I did find this sample Senior Pastor job description but not in conjunction with an Associate Pastor. I'll be on the lookout!

Hello!

 

We at Kalamazoo Westwood CRC have the following on Staff:

Senior Pastor -- Full Time

Family Life Coordinator -- 3/4 Time

Youth Pastor -- 2/3 Time

Worship Coordinator -- 1/2 Time 

 

Cheri Dykstra

We said good bye to our beloved pastor and his wife after 13 years this year.  A couple of thoughts:  make sure his wife (or her husband!) is also acknowledged and appreciated.  Our pastor said to us that the only way they could anticipate the farewell weekend was to celebrate the ministry we had done together.  That was our focus.  

We asked several members of our congregation to share a testimony of how he/they had touched their lives and blessed them.  We poked fun at them.  We brought in a group to cater a meal from a local ministry dear to their hearts.  We gave both of them opportunity to share their feelings.  

When our church moved into our own building, our mother church gave us a baptism font created by Floyd Elzinga.  We bought them a smaller piece reminiscent of that font to remember us by.  We took pictures of the farewell events and presented them with a book full of pictures.  

Our high school group presented a dramatic presentation of th gospel.  There wasn't a dry eye in the house when they finished.  

That's a small glimpse of some of the things we did.  Make sure you have a budget and a group of people (we worked from October to June to make it happen) to work on it.  But our pastor also retired, so we celebrated them twice - once as we said good bye as a church family and once again with the broader community, including former churches, to honour the retirement.  

Hi Michelle,

Thank you for asking and thank you for supporting Home Missions and World Missions.

Home Missions and World Missions will be completing this fiscal year as two separate agencies, with two separate budgets. Both agencies still have financial and ministry commitments this year, and Synod 2017 is expected to give final approval of the transition to a new mission agency. Behind-the-scenes work to bring the two agencies together is continuing, but a lot of important steps need to be completed before making the "official" transition—such as selecting a name, designing a logo, finalizing new ministry leaders, and searching for new ministry opportunities.

We see this joining as a time to work together in new ways and identify new ministry opportunities that may not have been possible before. We hope to continue current ministry and grow new ministry, and we pray that churches will join us in supporting that growth.

You can find more information about this process, including stories of ways that Home Missions and World Missions have already been working together, at www.crcna.org/hm-wm.

We're using Doing the Math of Mission for our Council retreat this year, focusing on chapter 5.  I hope we have a fruitful, faithful conversation on how we can care for the future of our congregation.  Does anyone have any resources that can help us prepare for our retreat?

Can an individual make a large investment into the CRC Extension Fund?

posted in: CRC Extension Fund

  We use Google Docs for co-creating orders of worship and such and other leadership documents are now also being posted there.  Seems easy to invite those who need access to them to go head.  I'm not super techy but there are a lot of youthful folks who are ;)

Peg, you can use your personal account. then invite yourself at your church email to share a folder or document. Then share that folder with the council members. When I upload new agendas for council I always use the copy link option and use my church email to inform all the council members, include the link, as well as the simple instructions about where the agenda is in the council folder. 

The council folder is easy enough to manage the sharing as council members change. The share "circle" at the top of the page can be opened (click advanced after opening) and then remove council members who have retired out and invite council members who are new.

At council meetings, out of 14 attending, we have 2 who prefer to print all the papers and supporting documents. a couple of them print just the agenda, and then follow on their tablets, computer or phone for the supporting documents. But the majority have a tablet or computer, and the church IT volunteer has made the wifi public access strong for the council room so we have not had any problems with connections. The only clicking away on a computer is my typing when minutes are being recorded. everyone else is just scrolling. Hopefully on the agenda and supporting documents, on not on Twitter. :) 

We haven't had the agenda on a projected screen, but that is a wonderful idea. However, we don't have a screen in the council room. Yet. (note to self, contact the tech team.) :)

This continues to be a vexing issue, both on the privacy front and the CRA's continuing insistence that the "Ebay case" doesn't apply to charities (i.e. books and records need to be on servers either "in-house" to the Canadian charity, or inside of Canada -- at a minimum).

This goes right back to some of the discussions we had when PIPEDA was introduced: Technology is galloping ahead way faster than any legislative updates can accommodate.

So, this becomes an issue of balancing risks.  Does a charity make use of technological advancements & efficiencies (e.g. Google Drive/"the Cloud") or continue to rely on its own physical servers in its own bricks and mortar facilities?  There is no definitive answer to this, so it becomes a decision of each church leadership on what it will do.  However, that should be done consciously, with serious consideration.  Some professional legal advice may be in order.

Sorry this is a bit of a "soft" answer, but until some court case comes along to cement things a bit, charity leaders just need to move forward with the usual proper caution.

To use Google Drive for 'an organization', Google is requesting that I sign up (and pay) for a domain name.  Is this what you have had to do as well?  I had assumed that it was a free program.  I've started my own personal Google drive and tested it out, uploading and sharing documents, but do not want my personal one to be the main Google Apps for the church, especially as you mention, Shirley, council members change.

Curious, Geri, do the majority of your meeting attendees then bring their own personal devices to the meeting (laptop, tablet, phone) and use these during the meeting?  We presently email out the full meeting agenda in advance for everyone to review, but then provide hard copies at the meeting so that not everyone is clicking away on a device.  Or do you put the agenda on a projected screen?

Thanks for your responses!   

Peg

Google is great for this.  In fact it is what is used at the denominational offices for conducting the business of Synod each year. Box.net and Dropbox are a couple of the many others.

When you select a cloud service, find out if your documents will be secure both while stored in the cloud (data "at rest") and while you are creating, editing, uploading,etc. (data "in transit").  The service should be providing security (encryption) for both. A second component of security relates to access.  As council members change, someone will have to keep up with changing security and adding and deleting accounts/logins.  Often you can set up "groups" that have access and then just move people in and out of groups. Deleting old accounts is an important component of security. 

You state that keeping the hard copies has become tedious.  I can imagine that is the case, however, keeping a single hard copy of the minutes is a very good idea.  This is for two reasons 1) the format of electronic documents change significantly over time and often are not readable by the newer technology, 2) the storage medium (disks, CDs, flash/ drives) also change and can render the documents useless.

Calvin College provides archival services for all CRC congregations.  When sending in your church's material--Calvin wants it in paper format. You can find details at http://www.calvin.edu/hh/crc_archives.htm.  On this web page there is a file called "Keeping Congregational Records" that has great information about what, why, and how when it comes to record management.

 

 

Last year our council began storing documents on Google Drive. As the Admin Assistant, and the person who assists the chair and pastor with agendas, document collection and putting together the packet for the council agenda, I have found that it goes pretty smoothly. I have asked them not to DELETE ANYTHING, but to trust that the documents will be cleaned out as needed.

So, while it has been a learning process, we are transitioning to having almost all of our council members accessing the agenda and associated documents online during the meeting. It is printed prior to the meeting for one or two of 14 attending members. 

When minutes become part of the approved minutes, I save them as .pdf versions with the note "approved at Council meeting, date", and then the noted chair and clerk and person who took the minutes. These are saved in the Approved Council Minutes folder. (printed version goes into the binder in the vault)

Our council has four year terms, and usually it only takes a couple of meetings for those new to Google Drive to figure out the ins and outs of how it works, and I always let them know I'm available by phone or email.

I also don't assume the whole council knows how to find a specific document or the agenda packet, so when it is ready, i send it as a link in the email, reminding them of the upcoming meeting. 

I hope this was helpful.

 

Planning Center's "PEOPLE" online database is a fantastic way to keep track of all the pertinent information on your congregants.  From the very basic contact information, to marriage and baptism info... it's very customizable too to track things that might be unique to the CRC. Added bonus if you use any of their other programs - everything syncs beautifully!

Hi Amy:

Thanks for your question. There is a form for the transfer of the credentials of a retired minister. It is posted below "Forms" at www.crcna.org/statedclerks. Or you can select the following link:

http://crcna.org/sites/default/files/Ecclesiastical%20Credential%20for%2...

Regards,

Dee Recker

drecker@crcna.org

 

 

Some suggestions:

  • Insurance should be handled the same for all employees based on full-time (30 or more) or part-time (may be two levels 20+ or under 20 typically)
  • Pension is a covered item for a minister of the Word.  Synod has determined this is how we will take care of our ministers in retirement
  • Housing Allowance is often 35-40% of salary
  • Salary is the most variable option.  Check out the Wage Scales sample in a search on The Network.  This sample from a larger church shows a salary range for a US Pastor Coordinator 1 starting at $49,750/min range/yr to a Senior Pastor max range of $108,340/yr.  This is just a sample from a church but gives you some idea of range.
  • The Ministers' Compensation Survey has variances based on 1st quartile, median, 3rd quartile.
  • "Compensation Handbook for Church Staff" by Richard Hammar
  • If you know of some churches that have a similar position, call them.

Hi Sheri: 

Pardon my digging up an old post. We are considering adding a second full-time staff person. The job does not require ordination, but many of our applicants are ordained. Could you tell us where to look for resources on how to compensate them fairly? We are came up with a base salary using the compensation book you mention here, but that no longer seems to apply if we go the ordained route (does it?)). We are also aware of the ministers compensation survey, but are looking more for information about how an ordained person in a different role should by fairly compensated (especially in comparison to the "lead" pastor with things like Insurance, housing, pension and, of course, salary). Thanks!
 

Nope.

 

posted in: Guns at Church

Has anyones views changed on this topic?

posted in: Guns at Church

Hi Michael: 

Here are a couple resources that may be helpful for you: 

The first is a blog (found here) that includes brief background on Bylaws as well as a sample church Bylaws document. 

Second, there was a communication (found here) that came out August 2015 about some revisions to the articles due to issues with same-sex marriage. 

Thanks!

Sheri 

OK, first off I am not an attorney. Second, the rules of Illinois are probably different than those of Michigan.  That being said, I believe that the primary purpose of modeling articles of incorporation became evident when churches began splitting and leaving the denomination during the long national nightmare of the WIO (Women in Office) issue.  The practical question was this:  If half of the congregation votes to leave the CRC and join the XYZ denomination, are they entitled to take the property with them?  Who owns the property?  By designating the relationship as one with the CRC, it helps with that question.  One less piece of agony to work through during what can be an otherwise messier divorce situation.  Read Article 6 D.

Thanks Randy. Last year I had to pull out a copy of the Letter of Call to remind them of their obligation. Some were stunned to see that in writing. It did change the previous decision and a raise was given. We need to keep everyone enlightened about their responsibilities. We take it for granted that everyone understands, but with changing council members it has to be brought to their attention. I am thankful for their understanding when they received the information.

Good to have this conversation.  I have found that you have to be assertive because committees don't always think logically when it comes to the compensation survey.  The survey is from LAST year's salaries and is meant for determining next year's salary.  It's not meant to BE next year's salary, but the finance committee in my church doesn't seem to understand that.  Because they have always used last year's numbers for the present year, I'm a year behind.  If all finance committee's did what mine does, our pastor's salaries would always remain the same.  The other issue is that our Classis had an influx of young new pastor's and the average dropped significantly for last year.  In my two years in my present charge I've actually been presented with a decrease both years.  Go figure!

When I stepped down as Prayer Ministry Director I was overwhelmed by the cards I received. There was the card from the Pastor, my Ministry Leader and then others that shared how the ministry had impacted them. I still have them. Don't let a volunteer step away without telling them how much their ministry and work has meant. Personal stories are really great.

Here is a list that ServiceLink has compiled, with 10 tips for showing church volunteers how much you appreciate them.  Many of these ideas are 'common sense' actions that volunteer leaders will already be aware of and following, but some may spark new ideas.  National Volunteer Week is also a good opportunity to give thanks, during the congregational prayer, for the faithful volunteers who are such a blessing to our congregations.

  1. Know your volunteers - Look for ways to spend some time with them and learn about who they are and about their lives. Where do they work? Who makes up their family? Ask about vacations. What significant dates are important in their lives? Showing you care about them indicates you’re interested in them personally and not just in completing a task.
  2. Ooze with encouragement either verbally or in writing. Tell your volunteers they did a great job. Share with them the impact they are making in your ministry. Send a card or an email. Let them know you’re praying for them.
  3. Care for your volunteers - Caring for your volunteers goes beyond knowing them. What are some of the things that they require in order to do their tasks? How about making sure they have access to workspace, computers and equipment. How about providing snacks for meetings or training events. This helps reduce the formality of meetings and may give people an excuse to come early or stay a bit later to build relationships.
  4. It’s all about Jesus! Every volunteer must see how their ministry connects to the gospel and changed lives – if not they’re only doing a task. So tell them! Tell them how their ministry connects to the mission of your church and the building of God’s Kingdom.
  5. Show them the ropes - You cannot expect volunteers to deliver quality ministry without some intentional training and team building. Provide the necessary resources in order for volunteers to be effective in their roles, as well as transferring attitudes, competencies and knowledge.
  6. Affirm their gifts - Sometimes people’s gifts are so natural to them that they don’t recognize them as such. When we highlight volunteers’ gifts we acknowledge both their gifts and the Giver of gifts, encouraging them to continue using those gifts to bless others.
  7. Respect their time - Volunteers have busy lives outside of ministry responsibilities. They may already be working long hours or need to arrange babysitters for their children. Lack of time is the most common reason people won’t commit to ministry involvement. So be prepared for your meetings, start on time and return calls and emails promptly. By respecting their time, you value them as volunteers.
  8. Keep them in the loop - People want their lives to matter, to know that they are important to the overall mission and vision of your church. So if there are new initiatives in ministry or changes in programs, keep volunteers informed and share the vision so they don’t feel awkward when other members may inquire of them.
  9. Cover their costs - Investing in a volunteer’s personal growth is a high level of appreciation. Is there a conference that would enhance their gifts and take them to a new level of responsibility? Invite them to participate in growth opportunities and cover their expenses.
  10. Say thanks! Just as you were taught from early on, saying please and thank you is good manners. Say “thank you” often and mean it.

 

Amen Fred! We are out to change our culture, not only follow rules. Safe Church is about creating a truly safe environment for all people, including those who may have experienced abuse, so that all of us together can worship, grow, and become all that we are created to be. It's a mindset that sees safe church as a critical part of building Christian communities that reflect our Lord, communities where his love and justice reign. 

i've enjoyed reading the 'loaded/important' questions, and the wonderful responses. In addition to the comments already made, i assume you are in the US Kory, based on some of your questions, and i have no knowledge of US laws and insurance as it relates ...

As a starting point for a safe church, i often refer to the safe church 'stuff' very much the same as the Occupational Health and Safety Act here in Ontario. As a factory owner, our staff is engaged in constant education, as we try to create a mindset of safety in the workplace. Our safe church team at church is also trying to create a mindset of a safe environment for our vulnerable members and our volunteers. Of course we have policies, vulnerable sector checks, procedures, annual mandatory training, etc. etc.  but through all this, it is a mindset that we all want to create in our volunteers. By creating a mindset of safety, the policies, procedures are less of an issue, and Love can then prevail much easier.

Thanks Larry for posting your comments and emphasizing some Canadian nuances that may prohibit a Canadian church to directly manage an overseas ministry.  All churches should consult their registration documents and ensure compliance with government requirements in terms of both soliciting charitable donations and disbursing monies.  Church partnerships with our denomination's overseas mission agencies is an excellent way to avoid some of these administrative / legal headaches.

Jeff: Thanks for this post.

There are some nuances for Canada that should be highlighted to provide insight into the different context of doing charity work in Canada. The terms "charitable objects" and "direction and control" are key to understanding the regulatory environment for Canadian charities.

Churches are registered charities in Canada meaning that the government has given them the ability to issue receipts for gifts given in support of the churches charitable objects. This is a legal privilege for a charity not a right. In Canada registered charities can only give to other registered charities. The intention of this regulation is that a Charity support only the things that that align with it's "charitable objects".

The founding documents of a church contain the purpose or "charitable objects" of the organization. These documents are called either letters patent or letters of incorporation. For Canadian charities their operations are limited to the items listed in their "objects". Most churches in the CRC denomination have very broad objects: "preaching the word', "benevolence", "support for Christian education" and "support of the ministry of the CRC denomination".

These objects are general in scope but intentionally do not include direct overseas ministry. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has always had a more stringent set of regulations for organizations that send money outside of Canada verses those that do work within Canada's borders. In this way CRA has developed a differentiated regulatory context for domestic and international charity work. (This distinction is beginning to blur as CRA moves toward a more stringent regulatory environment for all charities.)

If a Canadian church wants to engage directly in overseas ministry they should consult their founding documents to ensure that they are able to do so in a direct way. In most cases founding documents will be silent on overseas ministry. For this reason (among others) the CRC denomination has agencies i.e. World Missions, Back to God and World Renew that do ministry overseas.  The best practice for any CRC church is to coordinate their desire to work overseas with the appropriate denominational agency in order to remain in compliance with CRA regulations.

A church must also ensure that any money it disburses to another charity will support it's own charitable objects. This is where the principle of "direction and control" comes into play. A charity must be able to demonstrate it's direction and control over the money it gives away. (i.e. that it's money is being used for it's charitable objects or purposes.) In essence the "giver" must be telling the "receiver" how the giver's money should be spent. It is incumbent on the giver to also ensure that the receiver is using the money for the intended purpose so that the giver's charitable objects are being fulfilled. In other words a charity must "direct" funds to it's the charitable objects and ensure that "controls" are in place to verify that the giver's money is actually spent on the charitable object. (direction and control). 

This Canadian regulatory environment is what makes doing charity work outside Canada much more complicated. By the way this stringent regulatory environment (direction and control) includes money Canadians might direct to ministry in the USA as well as anywhere else on the Globe.

 

Thanks Bill for your comments and especially for your church's generous support of these various missionaries.

Our congregation helps to support two missionary and three missionary families and we personally know them all. I can't think of a better way of doing it.

Thanks for sharing! It's very important to consider what makes sense and is most helpful in your particular context. It's a nice bonus that your half of classis also puts out a directory. 

We are blessed with different methods of connecting.  Within our our faith community directly there is a printed list of all members and adherents within their districts.  This list / booklet also includes ministry contact info etc. but does not have any advertising.

In addition the area churches in our half of Classis (approximately 15 groups including a non CRC but Reformed community and a Christian Retirement Home) also distributes the lists of members and adherents of those churches.  So we are connected to the churches around us as well.

In our particular context (large numbers of elderly in a semi-rural town) the online component is not yet a priority as many members do not have computer or internet connections that would warrant this level of connecting.

Sounds like some great ideas for other churches and a very sustainable directory! Thanks for sharing, Justin. 

We are in the process of redoing our directory after a multi-year hiatus. It was a big job getting everybody's information current again. This time around everything went into an online database. 

Now that it's there we can run a report that outputs the directory in the format for our print directory without all the work of updating a word document or whatever was used before. Plus we can quickly run reports on Profession of Faith aged, teens, singles, widows, etc. Even made these great family reports for house visits.

Also we have it linked to office365, mailchimp, etc. through the api so it's change once and update everywhere. So much better!

Also it's free, so dutch friendly :)

 

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