Gift Aid for Christian Workers

by Anthony McKernan
Posted on 1st May 2007

Students currently graduating from mainstream university this year will have a debt of over £12,000 on average. Those training for Christian mission are not exempt. Speaking to the bursar of a Bible College a few months ago, I learned that it is normal for students that are entitled to take out student loans, to do so. Therefore, somebody training for mission on a two-year course at Bible College could finish with debts of over £8,000 to the student loan company alone (and that won't cover all the fees).

Recent research by the Stewardship Forum (a group convened by the Evangelical Alliance) has found that none of the leading UK Bible Colleges teach stewardship as part of the core curriculum. Yet many of those graduating will, before long, be responsible for budgets, fundraising and faith-based decision making.

This article isn't about criticising students or colleges, however. The points above illustrate that a) financial support for those on Christian mission, or training for it, is important, and b) mission training itself ought to include a level of financial education.

More and more people going on mission are responsible for raising their own support. Thanks to the Gift Aid scheme and the facilities offered by Stewardship, the UK's largest Christian giving agency, Christian workers responsible for raising their own support can see their gift income increase by 28% (less the 3% admin fee).

Christian workers and Bible College students are not entitled to receive Gift Aid as individuals, because they aren't themselves a charity. However, their activities represent a charitable purpose. This means that supporters can pass a gift to Stewardship with a request that it be passed on to the nominated Christian worker or Bible College student, including the tax reclaimed under Gift Aid.

Stewardship have turned this concept into the Sovereign Account for Christian Workers and Bible College students. This is proving a very popular form of fundraising for these groups. Stewardship pass the gift and the reclaimed tax directly to the worker or student's bank account. Statements and reports of supporter's gifts are available on request.

The small print.
To remain within the spirit of Gift Aid, there are some restrictions on giving to relatives. Family members of Bible College students are unable to give in this way. Family members of those in full time Christian work can give within certain criteria (contact Stewardship to find out more). Christian workers need to be substantially in full time Christian work and dependent on gift income.

In 2006, a book written especially for Christian workers to help them in raising personal support will be published by Stewardship. In the meantime, are Christian workers & Bible College students that you know benefiting from the extra Gift Aid income?

Anthony McKernan was previously Marketing Manager for Stewardship who provide services that facilitate effective giving and promote biblical principals & practice. For more information contact Stewardship on email or visit