By: Christa Meland
How could you reach new people and live into God’s vision for your congregation with the help of a grant? What equipment or materials do you need to successfully offer virtual church? Are you ready to start a digital campus to expand and formalize your online ministry?
The Minnesota Conference has THREE grant opportunities available to local churches right now. Dream about your church’s future, and then apply for a grant that will help you live into it!
The grants are:
1. Investing in Congregations
Investing in Congregations grants are awarded annually to churches that demonstrate a potential, capacity, and commitment to reach new people, grow in love of God and neighbor, and heal a broken world. Funding can be used for new ministries, programs, and staff positions. There is $125,000 in grant money available, and individual grants can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $20,000. Applications for 2021 grants are being accepted through Oct. 15. There are three tracks:
- grants $2,500 and under (one time only)
- grants over $2,500
- grant renewal (the larger grants can be renewed for up to three years, in declining amounts—typically thirds—and require full payment of apportionments in years funded)
2. Dare to Reach
It’s clear is that the virtual church is here to stay, even as we are able return to in-person worship and other events. The Minnesota Conference wants to walk alongside churches as they embrace the digital world, so we’re offering seed grants of up to $1,000 to help churches continue pivoting into that future. Is there a gap you have identified or a step you need take to reach more people in a virtual church world? Grants can be used for equipment, software, subscriptions, licenses, or other materials to help you venture into this brave new world. (Note: These grants are only for congregations that did not receive a Dare to Reach grant last year.) There are 16 grants available, and funds will be allocated on a first come, first-served basis until funds are depleted, or Sept. 27. Part of the application process involves a conversation with Technology and Ministry Specialist Cullen Tanner
3. Digital Campus
Even as we re-gather in our buildings, we need to be "both/and" churches. This is an opportune time to grow virtual ministry, and the Dakotas-Minnesota Area has grants for 10 congregations from each conference to start or formalize a digital campus. Applications are due Sept. 27. This initiative includes:
- Development of the campus leader, a “digitally fluent” individual who can dedicate 20-30 hours per month over the next year to establish and grow the digital campus.
- Extensive training for the campus leader and lead pastor to establish a campus using the model laid out by Nona Jones in her book From Social Media to Social Ministry.
- Continued coaching and peer support throughout the year.
- $3,000 in grant money to support the campus leader's stipend; congregations will be expected to contribute at least $1,000 to increase this stipend.