The BCC Federation has spent several years investigating, testing and introducing a model for a means-based donation model. 2024 will be the first full year of operation.
How ministry is valued
Before explaining the model, it is important to understand what is valued in the BCC church. Our greatest value is the life we can live as Christians, and thus the ministry that teaches how to live the life that Jesus made possible for people through His sacrifice. Ever since the beginning of the 20th century, it has been important that those who have a ministry in the church do this for the sake of the kingdom of God.
For this reason, the roles of church elder and youth leader are unpaid positions in all BCC churches.
But the church encompasses more than ministry of the word. The BCC Federation incorporates a vast commitment to the purpose of teaching those who want to, to keep the commandments given by Jesus. In 2024, BCC’s central organizations have a total budget of NOK 351 million. 71% of this will be covered by the donation model.
Introducing a good and fair structure for such a large economy with thousands of donors obviously requires extensive work and good procedures.
A fair structure
“It should go without saying that Christians should be righteous in money matters and follow the laws of the land.”
This is stated in BCC’s values. It is the starting point for the deeper righteousness that Christianity promises. It is therefore natural to structure the donation model in a way that encourages the practice of biblical righteousness. Everyone can participate according to their means, and those with higher incomes can help to support those with lower incomes.
What does the donation model cover?
The donation model is the local churches’ most important source of income and is intended to cover both local expenses and the local church’s contribution to the central BCC Federation. This covers, among other things, Sunday meetings and other events in the local church, operating costs, BCC’s international conferences – which all local churches can participate in, both physically and digitally – missionary support, and other operations of the international faith community.
The donation model does not cover collections during conferences and missionary collections.
Facts about the donation model
- The donation model is for members over 26 years of age
- Each member donates the same percentage of his/her gross income to the local church
- The annual meeting of the local church determines the percentage amount
- The donation model shall not exceed 10%
- It covers the local church’s operations and expenses, the central membership fees to the BCC Federation, and joint participation in the conference at Brunstad
Investing in the youth
The donation model takes into account different phases of life. In periods when you can contribute less, you can participate on the same terms. Young people under the age of 26 are often active in youth work via Brunstad Youth Club. They usually contribute with membership fees or donations to the club, while also participating in camps with the club. They are therefore not expected to participate in the donation model, even though they participate in church life and at conferences. As a church, we do this as an investment in young people and work to ensure that they continue to live as Christians in their adult life.
How the local church makes plans
To ensure fairness and equality for all, members over the age of 26 pay a percentage of their gross income to the local church. Each country has its own model for tax and welfare, but in the process the Assembly of Representative concluded that gross income is the most comparative factor to measure.
“The donation model shall not exceed 10%.” This was adopted by the Assembly of Representatives in 2022. The annual meeting of a church in the BCC Federation can therefore not adopt larger budgets or make larger investments than they can manage with 10% of their members’ total gross income.
This requires good planning and good financial management, which should characterize the whole of BCC. The board of the local church does a thorough job of drawing up a budget for the next year. For the annual meeting to be able to adopt the budget, there must be certainty that the money will actually be received, and this is done through so-called donation pledges.
Donating with donation pledges
At the end of the year, when the local church sets budgets for the next year, members give their donation to the local church by signing a donation pledge. This is done slightly differently in each country, but the principle is the same.
Members can use a digital tool to track the gift certificates submitted to the local church. You can see how much of the budget has been covered by donations and how much remains to be covered. Many have a sense of responsibility for the budget, and we have previously reported on members who get involved locally to support the submission of donation pledges.
This ensures that the plans are realistic to implement when the annual meeting must adopt the budget.
Via the digital tool, the members then confirm that they will donate the same percentage as the annual meeting has decided and estimate what this will be per month. An on-account amount is paid on the donation on a monthly basis. At the end of the year, an assessment is made of whether you are below or above the agreed percentage.
How the money is spent
A budget would look something like this in a Scandinavian local church:
- 1.5% of the members’ gross income goes to the central membership fee in the BCC Federation.
- 4% covers international conferences.
- The rest, up to 4.5%, finances the local church’s operations and investments.
The sum of the central membership fee is approximately NOK 70 million in 2024, which is used to finance the central organization in the BCC Federation. See the annual report for a more detailed explanation of how these funds are used to fulfill the churches objectives.
Part of the BCC Federation’s missionary work involves making high-quality Christian media content available to Christians. This is especially for children and young people who feel called to become disciples of Jesus.
Multi-million kroner media productions are publicly available online, and more will be produced in the future.
See a selection of content funded via the BCC Federation here:
As the budget example shows, the international conferences are such a central part of church life that they make up a large part of the big financial picture. Through the conferences and the shared ministry, we experience a strong unity among the members, which is a stated strategic objective for the entire church. This is why we have invested heavily in having a place to gather, and why members, local churches and organizations have contributed to the financing of the expansion at Brunstad.
All local churches in the BCC Federation, with their members, shall have access to the conferences, either through physical or digital participation. When we meet at the conferences as Christian brethren, everyone is equal. Regardless of whether you come from a developing country with a weak economy and have received missionary support to purchase accommodation, or whether you are from the western part of the world and have a low or high income, you will receive a participant wristband and full board and accommodation.
Everyone stays on site during the conferences, and accommodation is purchased privately via long-term agreements in Samvirk.
As an international religious organization, it requires excellent planning to organize the conferences in one of the world’s most expensive countries to live in. Due to the different distances to Brunstad, local churches contribute a different proportion of their income to finance the conferences. As shown in the example above, most Danish and Norwegian churches pay 4% of their members’ total gross income to finance the conferences. Churches with longer travel distances contribute less:
- Churches with less than 600 km travel distance donate 4%.
- Churches with a 600-3000 km travel distance donate 3%.
- Churches with more than 3000 km travel distance donate 2%.
All local churches have the opportunity to watch the conferences online, but those with shorter travel distances will naturally come to the conferences more often to participate physically.
The donation model covers most of the activity in the local churches, and much of the activity in the international BCC Federation. This means that the members are involved in carrying out the church’s overall objectives.