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Hi John, Great questions. This is a question to which the CRCNA ought to pay more attention. What does missional engagement look like? In our denominational identity statement we say,"Just as a biblical understanding of the Christian life quickly leads to the church, so a biblical understanding of the church quickly leads to the word-and-deed nature of the church's mission. The church's mission has a word (proclamation) component; it also has a deed (action) component. ...Word and deed go together in the Christian life and in the church's ministry. the church can not divide the ministry of word and deed, and certainly can not choose between them." (page 41 of What it means to be Reformed, 2016, published by CRCNA). The work of Resonate Global Mission seeks to bring these two elements together. We seek justice and mercy as we proclaim God's message of redemption for his creation. 

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.


Hi Gilbert,

I am wondering which agency you are currently working with? Resonate Global mission does a lot of leadership training in East Africa. In fact we have You might want to contact the Resonate office to see how you could volunteer through the Global Mission agency. 

Here is the link the the East Africa region: 

Mike Ribbens is the East & Southern Africa regional leader and you could also connect with him for more information. [email protected]  


Thanks for your comment Wendy. Dr. Glenn Smith from Christian Direction in Montreal and a Resonate partner makes the comment that, when you start with a persons "needs", ministry will be never ending because needs are never satisfied. He suggests that effective ministry starts with hospitality and friendship. Through hospitality and friendship our perspective changes and allows us to see resources in a community where before we only saw needs.

Hi Greg, thanks for this post. It raises the question of why the CRC has separated mission work from social justice work. Should mission work and social justice work be one ministry of the church?

Hi John, Thanks for this post. I have a comment on one point in particular.

"A senior pastor says, “Why should you have to walk around with your hat in hand to beg for funding?” “Let me take some of the pressure off of you.”

This pastor's idea that fundraising is "begging, hat in hand" missed the point of mission work. That attitude is a secular idea that gives power to money as the primary relationship in our lives. For Christians money does not have that power. In the Christian life and especially in mission, God is primary.  God says the only  relationship that matters is your relationship to me.  When in a relationship with God the fact of having or not having money is irrelevant. Inviting others to come to know God through Jesus is what is important. If extending that invitation costs money than those who have money freely give it as one way to participate in the biblical call to mission and ministry. The act of giving money becomes as much an act of worship as praying, teaching or preaching. Asking for money is extending an invitation to join God's Mission to redeem the world. There is no higher calling than that. 

Hi John,

I agree that the home service model is out of date. The current model belongs to a time when travel was measured in weeks or months not hours. It has to change.

There are also some language terms that need critical analysis. Mission work is an invitation to participate in God’s plan of redemption and not a sales deal to be closed. So yes, I do think that the pastor’s phraseology is also out of place. Whether magnanimous or not the language is an indication of a misperception of the act of asking for money. Asking someone to participate in God’s mission is an opportunity to respond faithfully to God and not an onerous task.

It is also incorrect to say that the North American pastor does not have to ask for his monthly salary. Every CRCNA pastor in Canada or the United States relies on fundraising for his or her salary.  They in fact ask for their salary every Sunday when a church budget offering is announced.    

I also want to recognize that stress does comes with not achieving financial targets. Having this conversation is a step toward addressing that stress and changing attitudes toward asking for money and being asked to contribute. By discerning our relationship with and to money, we dig deeper into our personal and corporate relationship to God. As a fundraiser I want donors and churches to know that we are not “closing a deal” with them. We are inviting them to get to know God better. The result, whether a “widows mite”  or a seven figure “major gift” is all the same to God who is simply asking his followers to be faithful to him.

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss this timely and sensitive topic.

Blessings to you as well.


The analyses of Harry and Bernard may be "spot on" if we lived in a perfect world. The simple fact is that the world has changed from the days when ministry shares supported the work and mission of the church.

Giving to charitable causes by CRCNA folks has changed. The work of the church may still be the main charitable priority for many CRC members however the number of givers is still decreasing and national statistics bare this out. The number of tax filers who claim charitable receipts has been on a downward trend for over a decade or more. The last statistic I saw cited a decrease of 23% in the number of people using a charitable tax receipt on their tax returns. (Here is a link to a CBC story on the subject. ) 

While the amount of money going to charities has remained relatively constant in actual dollars the fact is that fewer people are giving larger gifts, and as Harry and Bernard both know, a constant number does not keep pace with inflation and is therefore equal to an effective decrease in funds available for charitable activities. In this scenario something has to give. Ministry costs money and models for funding ministry have to adjust to changes in social behavior.

The world has changed in so many other ways as well. The government regulatory environment on both sides of the border requires much greater scrutiny over funds going to foreign countries. Ministry not only cost money, it requires careful stewardship and administration. Any claim that ministry (or any other charitable activity for that matter) does not need to include administration a non-starter.

Here are a couple of examples: Putting missionaries on the field today requires monitoring for security concerns and it requires staff to provide tax receipts. Think for a moment about placing a missionary on the field without an emergency evacuation plan… or, what would life be like for a missionary without the possibility of a tax incentive for charitable giving? The answer to these two basic questions is; living in constant fear and on substance wages.

In Resonate Global Mission we are talking about what it means to generate a “culture of philanthropy” by which we mean that every staff person has a role to play whether directly or indirectly in the raising of funds for ministry. When supporters are encouraged to change the paradigm by which they conceive of ministry to one where “everything is mission” that begins to make a difference. The fund raising adage is that “people give to people”. To achieve the shift in thinking that “everything is mission”, mission workers have to play a more active role in the raising of support for ministry work. 

Since our old models of ministry support have fallen short of the mark Resonate has chosen to adopt this more direct approach to support raising through the 20/20 ministry support goals. Yes, this includes asking missionaries to raise 90% of their personal support budgets. Expecting a better result from a system that had been declining for years required a new approach. Harry and Bernard are you getting on board?


So the Donna Reed Show, The Flintstones and the Brady Bunch, constitutes the authoritative voices on whether to vaccinate or not? Here is a piece from Wikipedia (see below) The reason for vaccination is that measles kills children under 5 years old. That is why we started vaccination in the first place. Measles is a killer of the young and most vulnerable.

From Wikipedia:

"The measles vaccine is effective at preventing the disease. Vaccination has resulted in a 75% decrease in deaths from measles between 2000 and 2013 with about 85% of children globally being currently vaccinated. No specific treatment is available. Supportive care may improve outcomes.[4] This may include giving oral rehydration solution (slightly sweet and salty fluids), healthy food, and medications to control the fever.[4][5] Antibiotics may be used if a secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia occurs. Vitamin A supplementation is also recommended in the developing world.[4]

Measles affects about 20 million people a year,[1] primarily in the developing areas of Africa and Asia.[4] It causes the most vaccine-preventable deaths of any disease.[8] It resulted in about 96,000 deaths in 2013, down from 545,000 deaths in 1990.[9] In 1980, the disease is estimated to have caused 2.6 million deaths per year.[4] Before immunization in the United States between three and four million cases occurred each year.[6] Most of those who are infected and who die are less than five years old.[4] The risk of death among those infected is usually 0.2%,[6] but may be up to 10% in those who have malnutrition.[4]"

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