“What’s new with your church?” That question is dreaded by most—almost as much as “How are things going at your church?” New initiatives or programs are symptomatic of health. Healthy churches, like other healthy organizations, generate new expressions of life and hope. When a ministry isn’t launching new initiatives, the membership can begin to question its health.
The StartNew Explorer program of the Michigan District, LCMS was developed to assist congregations in their efforts to launch new mission and ministry initiatives. The program provides support in three ways. First, it includes training which will assist the project leader to form a team, develop a working plan of action, and connect with potential ministry partners and donors. Second, the program includes the opportunity for monthly coaching to assist the team process the challenges and opportunities that may arise in the implementation of the plan. The coaching works to keep the initiative focused on its targets. Third, the program makes available, as needed, up to $5,000 in interest-free money to assist in the start-up costs.
Any member congregation or school of the Michigan District, LCMS qualifies for the StartNew Explorer program. Individuals who are members of congregations and schools of the Michigan District may also qualify for the StartNew Explorer program. To find out if you and your project qualify, contact your District Facilitator.
What Type of Projects Qualify?
The StartNew Explorer was designed to assist with new initiatives that serve the District’s Critical Targets of Great Commission (initiatives that are focused on the spread of the Gospel) and Great Compassion (initiatives that are focused on human care and compassion). The funds can be used to assist in adding staff needed to implement the new initiative. The grant dollars may be used to pay for promotional materials or equipment for the initiative. While capital improvements to the facilities are not supported by the grant, if the improvement is directly—and uniquely—tied to initiative, it may be eligible for the Explorer grant. A list of projects that qualify may be obtained here.
When are the Grants Awarded?
The grant application will be distributed to the award committee when the complete application is received. The grants are awarded based on the following criteria:
- Gospel sharing potential through the project.
- The percentage of members expected to participate in the project.
- Partnership opportunities with people in the community.
- A next-step plan to follow up on the activity.
Once the application has been approved, the ministry will be notified, and a payment schedule will be established.
How do I Get Started?
If you are interested in learning more, or wish to start the Explorer process, contact your District Facilitator. He will be able to confirm the eligibility of the project and walk you through the grant application process. If you are not certain about the District Facilitator assigned to your ministry, contact the Michigan District at 734.665.3791 and we will provide you with his name and contact information.