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Ministry Resource Center Policies

Ministry Resource Center Policies

Relationship of MRC to Calvin’s Mission

Hekman Library supports the research and instructional needs of both Calvin Theological Seminary and Calvin College. The Ministry Resource Center (MRC) is part of the Lilly Vocation Project, a major grant from the E.I. Lilly Foundation, and is a permanent collection in Hekman Library, functioning under the auspices of the library. The MRC houses a collection of practical resources to help college and seminary students and faculty connect learning and practice in Christian ministry leadership, to assist ministry leaders in the local community, and to provide assistance to the world-wide church via online access to its resources.

Mission of the MRC

The center is a collection of practical resources for all aspects of college, seminary, and congregational ministry. For example, it contains materials for those who need to plan a worship service, teach a class, lead a small group Bible study, or develop an outreach program. The center enables people in ministry to compare programs and their related materials. It contains print, digital, and audio-visual materials for all aspects of ministry in college, seminary, and church settings. The intent of the MRC is to complement the extensive theological collection housed in the regular collection of Hekman Library. There is some (but not extensive) overlap between holdings in the two collections. However, users will find both collections useful.

The Purpose of the Collection Development Policy

This policy serves to guide the selection of the ministry resources that constitute the collection of the MRC. It also guides decision-making as to how long certain resources remain in the center. The policy also explains the types of resources that the MRC holds and services the center provides.

Clientele Served and Services Provided

Primarily, the center is designed to be a collection of biblically, theologically, and theoretically sound resources that reflect and support the Reformed theological tradition for students and faculty of the college and seminary who are engaged in Christian ministry leadership positions both on and off campus. The MRC also has a global vision and also seeks to serve church leaders all over the world.

The materials in the center’s collection are useful for leaders in such ministries as Bible studies, prayer ministries, worship, urban neighborhood ministry, and volunteer services. The MRC is also designed to help users realize how gifts in art, theater, music, dance, writing, languages, counseling, business, technology, accounting, or management, can be used in ministry. The center also serves ministry leaders locally, and a worldwide constituency through the Internet, not only by providing a catalogue of its resources but also downloadable materials. Recognizing that Calvin students and many church leaders need more than simple access to published and on-line resources, that they need mentoring, encouragement, and discernment for selecting resources, MRC staff provides guidance and assistance.

Selection Principles

The primary selector of MRC materials is the Manager of the MRC. However, the manager utilizes advice from the theological librarians, principal leaders involved in the Lilly-funded departments, college and seminary faculty, and other reliable theoreticians and practitioners with expertise in the related subject areas. Recommendations are accepted from any other interested parties, but the final decision to purchase material is the manager’s. Material will be acquired based on these selection principles.

  1. The MRC is to be a place where ministry leaders can come and expect to find resources that are consistent with Reformed theological thought and instructive for ministries in the Reformed tradition. Three criteria are employed in the selection of resources for the MRC:
    1. Consistency with the Bible
    2. Consistency with historic Christian and especially Reformed theology
    3. Consistency with sound theory, e.g., pedagogy (including age appropriateness, reputation of the author, quality of writing)

The ministry resource center will also collect items which may not meet these criteria if it is judged that certain excellent aspects of them may be helpful to users, or if it is judged that they will be useful additions to the collection for purposes of study, analysis, or comparison with other resources. In these cases there may be a caveat added to annotations of the resources in question.

  1. We also recognize the value of other Christian traditions; therefore we also attempt to collect official denominational worship resources which our users may find beneficial.
  2. The emphasis is on those materials designed for use in ministry settings. Related theological and theoretical resources are housed in the general library collection but their existence and location are noted in records retrieved using WebCat or the MRC Resources database
  3. MRC resources also reflect Calvin’s standards for appropriate sensitivity to issues pertaining to gender, nationality, and race.
  4. While the center contains materials for each area of ministry, an important priorityis the worship section because of our ties to the work of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
  5. Donated materials are accepted according to the same standards required for purchased materials.
  6. Priority is given to English-language resources. Spanish-language resources and other materials in different languages are included when required to meet ministry needs. The MRC works toward developing resources in other languages to serve the needs of the global church through the increasing multicultural ministries in the U.S. and to serve international students and leaders of ministries in other countries.

Materials acquired normally are assigned an LC (Library of Congress) number and shelved accordingly. Materials which are ephemeral, such as brochures, booklets, pamphlets, illustrations, charts, Christmas programs used by churches, liturgies from churches, and conference materials are stored in vertical files in the MRC and accessible through the MRC Resources Database. Such files are organized by subject but are not given an LC number.

Collection Evaluation and Weeding

The MRC collection will be evaluated in an ongoing manner. As new materials are published the staff will decide whether the newer resources are more useful than those currently on hand. If so the decision will be made whether to place the new material alongside the existing resources (if, e.g., the older material is still preferred by a sufficient number of people or if it contains resources not included in the newer publications) or to replace that which is already in the center. The resources will regularly be checked for their condition.

The MRC collection will also be regularly reviewed regarding use. To make room for resources that are needed more than others, those that receive little or no use will either be removed and sold (in the Library’s used book sales), given away, or discarded.

Review of the Collection Development Policy

The policy will be reviewed each year by the MRC Manager to reflect current practice. Throughout the year any modifications to the policy in practice will be incorporated immediately to keep it current.

Collection Areas

Within the parameters of the MRC mission to be a strong collection of practical resources for all aspects of college, seminary, and congregational ministry, these are the areas of concentration:

Category 1 – The subject is directly related to a ministry of the church. The material is often used by the leader and participants in the actual ministry setting. Material in this category will be collected exhaustively:

  • Adult Education Material
  • Art and Worship
  • Bible Study Material
  • Children’s Ministry
  • Church Renewal
  • Counseling
  • Dance, Liturgical
  • Family Education Material
  • Fiction (Children and Youth)
  • Music and Worship
  • Spiritual Disciplines and Gifts
  • Young Adult Ministry Material
  • Youth Ministry Material
  • Workplace Ministry Material

Category 2 – The subject matter supports the ministry efforts of church leaders. The material is often used only by the leader to provide a fuller understanding of issues. Material in this category will be collected sparingly because much of the material in this category will be found in the regular library collection. Material housed in the MRC will typically be more practical and accessible than material in the regular collection. Duplication of material found in the regular library collection will be the exception rather than the rule:

  • Apologetics
  • Church Administration
  • Church Education
  • Hermeneutics
  • Leadership within the local church
  • Missions
  • Non-Christian Religions
  • Reference
  • Small Groups
  • Social Issues
  • Theatre

Category 3 – The subject matter is very general in nature and not necessarily related to ministry. Only material that relates explicitly to church ministry will be selected. Enough material in these areas can be found in the regular library collection to satisfy the needs of nearly all ministry leaders:

  • Biography
  • Ethics
  • Media
  • Social Issues
  • Technology