Churches Receiving Grants for Spiritual and Physical Growth
In 2006, the Texas Annual Conference set a goal of starting 100 new churches by 2016, to make new disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world. To date, 35 new churches are underway with an additional five slated for 2012 and another nine that are expected to launch in 2013. “These new churches represent the greatest degree of growth in our entire conference,” says Congregational Excellence Director Dr. Don Waddleton. “They are keeping the conference in the positive column in terms of worship attendance overall, and generating new excitement and enthusiasm across the state.”
Filling out the grant request form is the first step. The grant amounts are created on a case-by-case basis but most churches consider this resource when they are ready to buy land or build. Waddleton notes that every situation is unique and there are no guarantees. The conference has awarded grants of over $900,000 in the last five years, however this total does not include any funds for salary/ministry or fund obligations for 2013 forward.
Pastor and lay leaders meet with the Grant Committee to elaborate on their financial need and demonstrate that their church’s benchmark goals have been met, positioning them for the next phase of church expansion. “Usually lay leaders, finance representatives and the parish chair join the pastor for this discussion,” adds Waddleton.
The Grant Committee reviews the finances available, the forecast of needs and provides a response thereafter. According to Business Manager Lynn Davis, the grant program is closely related to our FROM THE GROUND UP initiative that offers individuals and groups the opportunity to buy shares that contribute to a fund that is specifically earmarked for new church starts, an initiative that has been a growing legacy of the conference for over 50 years.
Learn more about the grant process from these recent grant recipients:
“Grace Crossing has been the beneficiary of two grants. The first allowed us to hire a Director of Young Adult and Youth Ministries and the second was to partially fund the purchase of property for the future of our congregation. The Conference seems eager to help churches grow into new areas of ministry. You have nothing to lose by asking for help with your particular ministry. The grant money represented the overall support we receive from the Conference. We are in our 3rd year of ministry and we are experiencing a large increase in worship attendance. The next phase for the church is to incorporate all the newcomers into areas of ministry where they can serve and grow in their relationship with Christ.” – Pastor John Whitehurst
“We had a great experience dealing with the Conference for a grant. The committee’s generosity and confidence in us helped us in a critical time. We have a clear vision for our future, but, as a new church start, the cost to acquire land would have been frankly unattainable without the help of others in the Conference, as well as the district and our mother church Clear Lake UMC. I know that money is tight on all levels of the church and we certainly know that no one 'owed' us anything. But we are certainly a living, breathing example of apportionment dollars making a difference and connectionalism at its best. The Watershed UMC plans to move into its first phase building in late 2012 or early 2013.” – Pastor Matt Neely