International (MNN) ― The recession has slowed charitable contributions. Many faith-based ministries are reporting millions of dollars in reduced income, necessitating staff layoffs and program cuts.
For example, the Southern Baptist Convention recently announced that due to a shortage in the Lottie Moon Christmas offering, 69 long-term foreign missionaries and 350 short-term missionaries would remain home this year.
Yet, there is another phenomenon revealing itself amidst the recession gloom. Church and ministry leaders have noticed a unique factor that may distinguish what they see coming in from other non-faith based giving. According to a recent study, those who support faith-based causes tend to cut spending on personal conveniences and entertainment first before cutting into kingdom-building causes.
Fred Palmerton with Christian Resources International says they've been experiencing that growth. According to their mission, CRI is a "community of Christians from all the nations of the earth, sharing what we have with one another and working together to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to communities everywhere" -- and that motivates people.
Palmerton says, "The good news is that people are sending their books. The bad news is that people are sending their books. They're getting into the really good stuff that we need so desperately. What we have difficulty doing is providing the finance to get them overseas."
People may not be able to give as much financially, but they are digging deeper and sending more valuable theological study helps to CRI. Many of the resources are packed into a Great Crate or other shipping container and sent overseas to support a pastor or help fill the shelves in a Christian library. For many of the recipients, they could never hope to purchase the materials given to them by CRI and its supporters.
Palmerton says you can help, and it costs roughly a dollar a day. "[For] as little as $30 a month through our Postage and Handling Club, we can get those materials out the door. It is a means by which people can sponsor these books to go overseas on a regular basis." Click here for details.