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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.

This may have been asked before. Do all CRCNA members appointed to Boards or Committees of the CRCNA sign the Declaration of Office Bearers? This would have a great deal to do with their integrity on speaking or making decisions on behalf of the CRCNA.

The number ministries and logo's in the CRCNA are becoming overwhelming.  And to think we have find Canadian versions of this as show we have some say (based on Canada Revenue rules). 

Each of the organizations need staff starting with senior Management. The Ministry Share process lumps all these organizations under "Congregational Services" (I counted 17 entities) with a budget of almost 12 million dollars. In Canadian values that would be Cnd 15 million! My suggestion is that if the CRCNA gives a ministry a name  and a logo it should have a budget to which each of these organizations can be held to account. And when they fund raise (and each one seems to do it independently) we should be able to see the financial situation each are operating under.

This is a wonderful report which gives me a chance to see what the church is doing in the world. 

This report becomes extremely important for our congregations as we transition to a new process for Ministry Shares.

The new process more or less forces churches to start the budgeting process in the summer in order to have something available for the Fall Classis meetings in 2020.

In this report the 2 biggest recipients of MS are 1) Resonate and 2) Congregational Services. The latter include no less than 17 stories in Ministry Report, none of the 17 have any financial information. That will prove to be a barrier to understanding the total scope of Congregational Services. There is no story for Denominational Services yet it is the 4th largest MS recipient. 

The information on World Renew is simply interesting but has nothing to do with MS as this Ministry is self-funding.

The Calvin College MS is the most difficult as the source of those MS are spread disproportionately over all the Classis in the denomination.

Of course I have no idea how the guidelines for the budget will be presented to the congregations. Will each church get a report on what they contributed in, say, the last five years? That information must be available.  To lump 17 ministries under one heading and ask for almost 5 million dollars will be difficult for most congregation to digest without a bit more granular information.

My quick response is that if the Ministry Report contains a story about a ministry it should show the financial info as well.  The Agenda for Synod each year provides excellent information on the number of employees (FTE). Should that not show in the Ministry Report as well?

The CRCNA year book is a treasure trove of member numbers but has very little information on FTE numbers in both churches and respective HO functions. I suspect when churches are going to be asked for pledges the issue of FTE will come up so it might be wise to have these numbers available in the process.

This article contributes to the very problem you are identifying i.e:

""If you are like me, six years after the launch of this idea, the hype around #GivingTuesday is starting to get overwhelming.""

Your posting caught my attention right as I was doing a proposal to our annual church budget on which Missionaries we would support for the next year(s).

Not sure we need a day of "Charitable Giving". The CRCNA has a long tradition of weekly and /or monthly giving. That along with the  Ministry Share program has served it well. 


I agree with August. I do follow another routine during the year though. I enter the charity number of the organization that is asking for the funds into the CRA website. It provides lots of detail on how much money is spent on marketing, advertising and how much the top people get paid.  My personal rule of thumb is that if marketing and  administration exceed 10% of the revenue collected, the organization is very inefficient.  You would be surprised how may organizations are in the 20-40% bracket!

As a  total aside.... I can (and do) also check on churches and church organizations. That also is very revealing.

This is a very comprehensive document that will require a lot of study and explanation. One question to which the denomination has a pretty accurate answer and I would like to see how it squares with the survey. It is this one:

Our congregation should financially support ministries and services of the Christian Reformed Church at the full amount recommended for a congregation of our size.  

The denomination should publish a graph along the same lines as the response on the survey to this question. Something like:

x churches with under 100 professing members = (e.g. 20 churches with under 100 professing members contributed  $ 60,000 )

x churches with  100-200 professing members  =

x churches with 200-250 professing members =

x churches with 250-300 professing members =

x churches with 300-350 professing members =

x churches with 350-400 professing members =

x churches with 400-500 professing members =

x churches over 500 professing members =

Somewhere in the CRCNA these numbers (Ministry Share payments) are available. They should be made public. Use the year 2016. The Calvin College Research Centre should have no problem doing this.

Interesting report from a meeting of +/48 people (with an Executive committee of 8) on the CRCNA from, what to me, looks like  50,000 feet up. Last year the same CRCNA  took  4 Boards with +/-64 members and  4 Executive committees totaling 16 to look at the CRCNA from four angles, each from 25,000 feet up. (Not including CS CC).

Regards the first item I did some research on the new name.

""" welcome to: Резонансные глобальные миссии

Russian is one language where the word "resonate" is not going to translate.

The word is a verb, and as a verb, it's very wierd to put it in a proper name.

And the word itself completely does not fit the context of the name."""""

I hope others who can read Chinese, Korean and Arabic will also do some research and share it with others.

This is an interesting topic because of a recent case by a parent on Vancouver Island who went to court objecting that her children (in a public school) were "forced" participate in some aboriginal smudge ceremony and prayers and considered that to be an infringement on her and her children’s religious liberty (i.e. being forced to participate in a religious event). The local Indian band dismissed the complaint, that while they would certainly exempt people from participating, the event itself was "cultural".  The judge will have to make a decision, I guess, unless the parent withdraws the case.

From your article it was not clear to me how we distinguish between religion and culture. And certainly in Africa where does religion start and when does culture end.

This issue was indirectly handled many years ago when the Canadian Federal government did not allow Christian schools to declare that all subjects were religious. It took a few years to define what Christian was and was not.  This, in Canada, had some very interesting financial implications (good or bad depending on your views) for folks who sent their children to Christian schools.

This is a very timely topic. The way this article is written it asks more questions than showing us what a healthy congregation  looks like. I would like to see more quantitative information rather than wordy platitudes.  I might suggest a church do a CV of itself. Because no personal information is provided we need not be concerned about privacy! So things like "birth dates" and other major timely events could be listed.  Also the number of members since starting in increments of 10 years e.g. List historical budget and what percentage was paid in Ministry Shares. How many pastors have served the church.  How many Council members are there. How many males and females. How many children baptized, how many professions of faith each over the last five years.  How many children enrolled in Cadets and Gems.

it may also provide information on money's spent on local evangelism and collections for sundry causes. In short how much does it really collect for all causes. 

if the church wanted to be really courageous it might consider confirming its commitment to the CRCNA official stand on a number of current issues.

The attached survey was way too complex and very difficult to answer objectively by a member.

Harry Boessenkool

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