The Smith Center for Evangelism and Church Growth offers a maximum grant of $10,000 to each church that submits an accepted proposal of a New Faith Community it intends on starting within the year of receiving the grant. The proposal must be accepted and approved by your District Superintendent, Mike Ramsdell and Bishop Lowry.
What qualifies for the grant?
- Includes a consistent (at least weekly) worship experience
- Celebration of the sacraments
- Has an identifiable pathway to discipleship?
- Celebrates and seeks professions of faith
- Teaches and practices stewardship
- Receives new members
- Remains accountability and connected to the Central Texas Annual Conference
- Is a sustainable model (has the financial, spiritual, and numerical strength to exist long term allowing the existing congregation to step up to a higher level in life and mission).
The approved church must give a monthly report on the status of their New Faith Community to the CECG Executive Director and the District Superintendent monthly.
6 Ideas for Creating New Faith Communities: (From Mike Slaughter-Blog July 2016)
- Use what is already in your hand by maximizing your current space. Before trying a church plant in a new place, ask if you have maximized what can be accomplished to share the good news in your current space. Is there an unreached segment of your community that could be better served if you offered worship at a different time of day, on a new day of the week, or in a different space in your current facility?
- Grow a place or setting somewhere you already do ministry into a vital church community. For instance, if you have an effective care ministry in a nearby assisted living or long-term care facility, could that become a worshiping community or video venue?
- Begin an online worship experience that does not require brick and mortar. Connect with United Methodist Communications, or Churchonlineplatform.com for ideas on getting started.
- Equip your sold-out Jesus followers to start their own small, informal communities. Could your group of folks meeting on Wednesday night in a nearby pub over beverages and the Bible be transformed into a Faith Community?
- Prepare your college students to start a dorm-room church. Students that watch the live stream or videos of your worship with other students each week. Offer supporting discipleship resources.
- Move into the neighborhood that you see as your church’s next place of evangelistic calling - I mean, literally move in. Offer a standing invitation to your new neighbors to drop in to your home one night each week for an “Open Table” dinner. Provide the main dish, and invite guests to bring a side to share. Weekly open tables are a great way to created contagious feelings of community that can serve as rich soil for (New Faith Communities) …trust me, this works!