By Amy Schenkel, CRHM Great Lakes regional leader and catalyst leader for new church development
Both the CRCNA and RCA are committed to increasing and embracing our diversity. As our North American context is changing, we want to see new churches that reflect our diverse communities. However, the harsh reality is that, in the past, non-Anglo church planters have served with fewer resources and benefits than their Anglo peers. When ethnically diverse churches close, it’s more often due to lack of financial support than any other reason.
Traditional plans for church plant fundraising encourage the planter to rely on their network of family and friends, including their home congregation, for financial support. But those who did not grow up in a Reformed congregation and those who come from under-resourced communities have more limited networks. As a result, this plan doesn’t work for an increasing number of planters.
Our denominations are not the only ones grappling with this issue. Last year, the article entitled “How Support Raising Keeps Parachurch Ministries White” took an in-depth look at the problem. The article noted the structural and cultural barriers to fundraising, especially for Latinos and African Americans.
This is a problem for which we must be seeking a solution. It is time to change the fundraising model if we want to support diversity in our church planting efforts. As your church thinks about planting new churches in your multi-ethnic communities, I hope you will join us in this conversation.