Developing resources to be used in fulfillment of the Great Commission is a ministry – not simply because of the outcomes it helps achieve. The act of calling God’s people to give toward activities that advance His Kingdom is a ministry in its own right.
As part of CMI’s commitment to strengthening this ministry and those ministries that are made possible as a result, CMI has created the following Resource Development Philosophy and Principles to provide guidance in making wise, effective and God-honoring decisions in its resource development activities.
Resource Development Philosophy
CMI’s resource development efforts are guided by three primary priorities. Our goal is to be: 1) Centered on glorifying God; 2) Consistent with Scripture; 3) Committed to our ministry partners.
Centered on Glorifying God
God is Lord and owner of all (Ex. 19:5; Ps. 24:1). As such, He is ultimately responsible for financial provisions for Church Ministries International and its various ministry projects. God prepares the work, issues the call and provides the means. We believe that God is responsible for prompting the hearts of ministry financial partners to give in response to the needs presented. As such, all CMI communications and fundraising activities will strive to be honoring to God, reflective of His character and in keeping with His commandments. To this end, CMI seeks to be fervent in prayer, trustworthy in its communications, servant-like in its activities, and faithful in its stewardship.
Consistent with Scripture
As part of CMI’s commitment to glorifying God, CMI will be obedient to biblical principles and models in its resource development activities and the stewardship of the funds raised. Among these are the following biblical principles outlined by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).
1. God, the creator (Gen. 1) and sustainer of all things (Col. 1:17) and the One “who works within us to accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20), is a God of infinite abundance (Ps. 50:10-11) and grace (2 Cor. 9:8). (Ps. 24:1; Phil. 4:19; Jn. 1:14)
2. Acknowledging the primacy of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16) as our chief treasure (Mt. 13:44) Christians are called to lives of stewardship, as managers of all that God has entrusted to them (1 Cor. 4:1-2). (1 Cor. 9:23; Phil. 3:8-11; Mt. 25:15-30, 1 Pet. 4:10)
3. A Christian’s attitude toward possessions on earth is important to God (Mt. 6:24), and there is a vital link between how believers utilize earthly possessions (as investments in God’s kingdom) and the eternal rewards that believers receive (Phil. 4:17). (Mt. 22:37; 1 Tim. 6:10; Prov. 24:12; Mt. 19:27-30; Lk. 14:12-14; 1 Cor. 3; 2 Cor 5:10; Eph. 2:10; 1 Tim. 6:19)
4. God entrusts possessions to Christians and holds them accountable for their use, as a tool to grow God’s eternal kingdom, as a test of the believer’s faithfulness to God, and as a trademark that their lives reflect Christ’s values (Lk. 16:1-9). (Mk. 12:41-44); Rom. 1:1; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 6:10, Col. 3:17, 1 Tim. 6:18)
5. From God’s abounding grace, Christians’ giving reflects their gratitude for what God has provided and involves growing in an intimate faith relationship with Christ as Lord of their lives (Lk. 7:36-50). (Gen. 14:20; Ezra 2:69; Mk. 12:41-44)
6. Because giving is a worshipful, obedient act of returning to God from what has been provided (1 Chron. 29:10-14), Christian fund-raisers should hold a conviction that, in partnership with the church, they have an important role in the spiritual maturation of believers (Jas. 3:1). (Rom. 12:1)
7. The primary role of Christian fund-raisers is to advance and facilitate a believer’s faith in and worship of God through a Christ-centered understanding of stewardship that is solidly grounded on Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16). (Ex. 34:32, 35:21)
8. Recognizing it is the work of the Holy Spirit that prompts Christians to give (Jn. 15:4-5) (often through fund-raising techniques) (2 Cor. 9:5-7, Neh. 1:4-11), fund-raisers and/or organizations must never manipulate or violate their sacred trust with ministry partners. (Is. 55:8-11; 1 Chron. 28:6, 29:9; Ps. 90:17; Prov. 21:1; 2 Cor. 3:5)
9. An eternal, God-centered worldview promotes cooperation, rather than competition among organizations, and places the giver’s relationship to God above the ministry’s agenda (2 Cor. 4:16-18). (Ps. 90:1-12)
10. In our materialistic, self-centered culture, Christian leaders should acknowledge that there is a great deal of unclear thinking about possessions, even among believers, and that an eternal kingdom perspective will often seem like foolish nonsense (1 Cor. 2:14) to those who rely on earthly kingdom worldview techniques (1 Cor. 2:1-5). (1 Cor. 1:17-31)
11. When these principles are implemented, that rely on God changing hearts more than on human methods, the resulting joy-filled generosity of believers will fully fund God’s work here on earth (Ex. 36:6-7).
Committed to Ministry Partners
Christ stated that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). CMI is committed to applying this commandment in its resource development activities. CMI will:
1. Be ministry focused, recognizing that a primary responsibility of resource development is to provide opportunities to inspire and help believers practice biblical stewardship.
2. Respect donors, treating them as partners in ministry and not simply sources of income.
3. Emphasize relationships by seeking to minister to the giver for their sake, not simply for the gift. (Phil. 4:17)
CMI Resource Development Principles
In keeping with the above philosophy, CMI will conduct its resource development activities in accordance with the following principles.
1. We recognize that God is the One who imparts vision and the One who provides. As such, we will prayerfully seek to balance faith and prudence. We will exercise faith in trusting God to provide for the accomplishment of vision even when resources may not be apparent, but will not jeopardize the ministry by making unreasonable projections that could precipitate a financial crisis.
2. We will exercise responsible stewardship of resources in our spending practices, being vigilant to spend conservatively and avoid excess, continually striving to maximize the resources spent on direct ministry.
3. We will not operate at a deficit. However, from time to time it may be necessary to borrow funds for large capital expenditures. If so, we will seek to repay the loan as soon as possible.
4. We will be faithful in paying all invoices by the date that they are due.
5. We will provide timely acknowledgement, expression of appreciation and receipting for all gifts received.
6. We will honor specific designations of donations by ministry partners, provided that the donation is given to an approved CMI project. We will put the funds to use for the specified project in a timely manner – normally within twelve months or less. In the event that a designated project is over funded, delayed or cancelled, excess funds may be reassigned to a ministry need most closely identifying with the project for which the funds were originally provided.
1. We will keep ministry partners well-informed about the ministry and its specific projects through timely, informative communications provided through a variety of media.
2. CMI’s Board of Directors will exercise proper governance and oversight of the ministry, its finances and its staff.
3. We will maintain membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and will faithfully adhere to the ECFA’s Seven Standards of Financial Accountability.
4. We will comply with all local, state and federal laws related to charitable organizations.
Confidentiality and Donor Preferences
1. We will not sell, rent, barter or exchange our mailing and other lists to other organizations or individuals for fund-raising purposes. CMI is committed to donor privacy and will take appropriate measures to ensure that personal information remains confidential.
2. We will honor all requests from anyone that wishes to cease receiving communications from CMI.
Communications with Ministry Partners
1. We will be truthful and accurate in all of our communications.
2. We will be diligent to present realistic expectations for how donations will be used.
3. We will not seek to manipulate or coerce people into giving a donation.
4. We will not impugn or speak negatively of other ministries, but instead hold a “Kingdom-oriented” mindset that recognizes that God calls different people and different organizations to carry out different roles in proclaiming His Gospel and expanding His Kingdom.
5. We recognize that from time to time, premiums and other involvement devices can be useful in encouraging ministry partners to give toward specific projects. If such devices are used, the following factors will be considered:
a. Does it have a recognizable connection to our ministry?
b. Does it have value to the ministry partner?
c. Is it cost effective?
d. Does it serve to draw the ministry partner towards a closer relationship with CMI?