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Why pay covenant shares?

Covenant shares explained

Churches belonging to the Reformed Church in America pay covenant shares—a set percentage of the church’s income—to the denomination each year. It is, as the name suggests, a way to be in covenant and to be on mission together. Being part of the denomination makes you part of a gospel-focused, multicultural denomination intent on making disciples and sharing God’s love locally and around the world.

Covenant shares are an equitable funding model implemented in 2024. Rather than the per-member assessment that came before, churches contribute a percentage of income to support the work of the larger RCA. Churches that have less contribute less; churches that have more contribute more. As church budgets increase or decrease, the percentage-of-income model adjusts their covenant shares accordingly.

Here are some specific ways that covenant shares make ministry possible for your church, for your pastor, and for you.

Be part of the mission

Through membership in the RCA, you are part of a Reformed witness around the world through RCA Global Mission, which is active in 40 countries and does powerful, principled mission work around the globe. You are part of a network of relationships, with shared Reformed theology. Your story is woven into the stories that are happening around the denomination, of a church rallying to help residents at a local apartment complex that burned down, of 20 people in the Dominican Republic hearing the good news and giving their lives to Christ, of caring for Ukrainian refugees who are living in a refugee camp in Hungary, of new churches that are organizing in Montreal and Sarasota and Chile and Brazil.

Create a beautiful reality of diversity and belonging

Racial and ethnic councils work to make sure you and all members of our denomination are seen, celebrated, and included as part of the RCA’s vision of making Revelation 7:9 a reality, where people from all tribes and tongues and peoples and nations are gathered around God’s throne in worship. Denominational staff can also help equip your church to dismantle racism. Contact for support in advocacy and race relations work.

Get equipped to lead and disciple

Your pastors and church leaders can join leadership cohorts to share ideas with leaders in other churches. These cohorts could equip your pastors for discipleship, encourage them in leadership, train them in mission, and come alongside them to engage the next generation. Contact for current and upcoming opportunities.

Reach 100,000 people with the gospel

The RCA is planting churches to introduce 100,000 people to Jesus and raise them up as disciples. You’re part of this—or you could be. You can plant a church in a city where few people know Jesus, and the RCA can help you do that—with tools, training, coaching, and grants. Whether you’re a church planter, a sending church, or a classis, you’ll find support and resources as you follow God’s call to multiply disciples.

Get resources for church administration

As a church admin or treasurer, you support churches in mission and ministry for Christ. As you serve in this important role, the denomination offers you support through quick links to resources like financial forms and policies. If you are a classis or regional synod clerk, you have access to a private clerks’ page with a host of information and resources.

Equip your consistory

Serving on your church’s consistory is a calling and a responsibility to lead God’s people. Whether it’s your first time on consistory or you’ve been on before, you’ll want these resources—leadership development tools, devotions, guides, forms, and more—at your fingertips.

Receive financial support through the Church Growth Fund

The RCA’s Church Growth Fund, Inc. (CGF), offers affordable-rate loans to your church to improve your building(s), expand your ministry, or take on a special project. The interest earned on these loans are given back to the denomination through ministry grants and scholarships. Learn more about requirements for eligibility and how partnering with the CGF is a win-win-win situation.

Discern the mind of Christ together

RCA pastors and elders discern the mind of Christ together at General Synod, providing direction for the work of the Reformed Church in America. During this time, delegates fellowship with one another and receive updates from the denomination’s commissions and councils. Just like churches and the denomination are in covenant together, so too are individuals within the denomination. At synod, RCA members get the opportunity to walk alongside each other and offer support in a unique way. (Discerning the mind of Christ together also happens in other assemblies, including regional synods, classes, and consistories.)

Deepen understanding of Reformed theology

Through the RCA’s theological institutions, leaders are learning and applying Reformed theology to the world today, many of them preparing to serve in RCA churches and church plants. Through RCA Bible studies and cohorts, new leaders are finding their callings and growing their gifts to pursue ministry. Additionally, RCA members are eligible for theological education grants for women and racial and ethnic students.

Where do the dollars go?

Only about a third of the General Synod Council budget is funded by covenant shares. There are many generous donors who help fund the work of the RCA. Sizeable grants and investment interest also contribute to the budget.

Ministry expenses – include the costs related to carrying out the GSC’s three strategic areas of ministry – Global Mission, Transformed and Transforming and Church Multiplication.

Work of the General Synod – includes costs related to the annual General Synod meeting, commissions, task forces, the Office of the General Secretary, the General Synod Council, and Communication and Marketing.

Ministry support services – include costs relating to the general and administrative support needed to carry out the three strategic areas of ministry and the work of the General Synod. This includes human resources, data management, information technology, financial services, legal counsel, and fundraising. 

Theological education – includes money for the RCA’s theological institutions (New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Western Theological Seminary, the Ministerial Formation Certification Agency) to use at their discretion.

RCA Global Mission is supported financially via individual and church donations and endowment income; it is not supported by covenant shares. The most significant way in which RCA missionaries are supported is through Partnership-in-Mission (PIM) shares. A PIM share is a commitment to a yearly set amount given to provide an ongoing base of support for RCA Global Mission. You or your church can commit to a full, half, or quarter PIM share, or another amount. Learn more about PIM shares.

Note: Historically, a portion of the per-member assessment (the covenant shares predecessor) went to support the Board of Benefits Services’ Assistance Fund, which provides financial assistance for retired RCA ministers and/or surviving spouses. In 2024, BOBS reported that endowment funding was sufficient to support the assistance fund; hence, no portion of covenant shares is allocated here.