What can $9.34 do?
God is using the PCA to advance His gospel around the world and build Christ’s church. Tom and Christy serve as a great example of how God is changing lives through the PCA.
After graduating from college and marrying, Tom and Christy relocated to southern California for work. They were Christians in a place neither had ever lived. They wanted to find a Bible-believing church but weren’t sure the best way to do so. When a friend from college encouraged them to look for a PCA congregation nearby, they found the PCA church directory and located Aliso Creek Church not far from their home. Two decades later, they continue to be active in the life of the church along with their daughters.
Tom and Christy’s story is just a small example of how God is using the PCA across the country and around the world. As beautiful as it is to see people find a faithful church, however, we often forget the role the denominational support structure plays in these testimonies.
Along with individual churches and presbyteries, there is an important “supply chain” underlying these stories that involves our denominational Committees and Agencies. Mission to North America, for example, trains and supports church planters as they start congregations so more people can encounter the claims of Christ. The Administrative Committee provides practical helps like the PCA’s online church directory, where people can find a church to visit in their area. We could go on, mentioning each of our denomination’s General Assembly Committees and Agencies.
But herein lies a PCA paradox.
On one hand, we demand that denominational Committees and Agencies exist and do their work. Through the actions of the General Assembly and the Book of Church Order, we actually make their work a constitutional requirement. If they fail to do what we’ve instructed them to do, we hold them to account. We do this because we believe they play an important role in advancing the gospel and encouraging our members.
On the other hand, we make the funding of these vital entities optional and voluntary. There’s a history here. The PCA was born in a context of great hope and vision for the theological purity and gospel progress of the church. At the same time, there was entrenched distrust of centralized denominational structure due to fresh memories of the former denomination, in which certain funding procedures were required while ministries were going theologically astray. The PCA practice of optional and voluntary giving to denominational ministries was an attempt to solve a spiritual problem with a procedural correction. This early funding decision has been revisited almost every decade because of the difficulty faced by denominational Committees and Agencies in raising the funds to conduct their respective ministries.
Here then is the paradox: we mandate the existence of a denominational support structure while refusing to mandate the financial support of it.
And that’s where $9.34 comes in to the story!
If every PCA church gave $9.34 per month per member (or $112 per year per member), the overhead expenses of every PCA agency and committee could be fully funded. It’s that simple. This amount (which may change slightly from year to year) is what is referred to as the Ministry Ask in the chart which you can find here: https://www.pcaac.org/giving/partnership-shares/. The annual Ministry Ask for 2021 is $112 per member. When a church gives this amount, it is divided and spread to the denominational Committees and Agencies according to a formula approved by the General Assembly.
When your church gives $9.34 per month per member, more churches can be planted, more missionaries sent, more college students grounded in a biblical worldview, more pastors trained for ministry, and more church leaders equipped for discipleship. How can this be possible? Currently, most of our missionaries, church planters, and campus ministers must include in their fund-raising a cost for their home-based administrative support. Although these workers “in the field” will always be responsible to raise funds, the total funds they need to raise would be reduced if the overhead costs of their administrative hub were fully funded.
So do we believe you should not support individual campus ministers, missionaries, church planters, or other individuals raising support to work in the field? Of course not! These are critical workers spreading the Gospel! But we also believe that your church should come alongside the structures the PCA created to undergird and support these field workers.
We all share a passion to see the story of Tom and Christy multiplied a hundred-fold. We want to see more pastors preaching the life, death, and resurrection of Christ in more places to more people. And we believe God can use a denominational “supply chain” to multiply the individual efforts of our PCA churches and people. But it takes the participation of every PCA church, giving as the Lord has blessed.
God, through the gift of His grace toward us in Jesus Christ, has poured out on PCA people the grace gift of generosity. And God is using this grace of liberality in His people to advance his gospel around the world and build Christ’s church.
I want to encourage you and your church to give $112 per member in 2021 if possible. We realize that some churches may not be able to give at this level, especially given the pandemic challenges of this year, but if so, will you make a start by giving at whatever level you are able? If all of our churches give, the ministries of our denominational Agencies and Committees can be funded to do the work we’ve asked them to do and that God is using to transform lives.
Stated Clerk Pro Tempore
PS: For more detailed information about how to give, go to https://www.pcaac.org/giving/