Grace Pomroy and her research team are researching alternative funding models for congregations and they would appreciate your help!
Congregations across the country are realizing that the “Sunday morning offering” may not be enough to sustain their mission. For nearly two years, Grace has worked with seminary students in her “Funding Forward” course to learn from congregations and faith-based nonprofits that are finding and experimenting with more economically sustainable models for ministry that are deeply connected with God’s mission for their organization. These models include specific tools like repurposing church property, social enterprise, grants, and more. While the tools and finalized models can spark creativity, congregational leaders often wonder what process they might use to discern God’s mission, which tools to try, and how they might get other congregational leaders on board.
Grace is building upon her prior learnings by researching the process ministry leaders have used to discern and implement these models so other leaders can follow in their footsteps.
She would appreciate your help in identifying any congregations that you believe might qualify for the survey. The congregations she is looking for are U.S.- or Canada-based and fit into one or more of the categories below:
- Experimenting with and/or using at least one consistent income source outside of tithes and offerings that is aligned with their mission. These income sources might include, but are not limited to:
- Repurposing or selling ministry property
- Generating consistent income through space rental
- Receiving grants from the government, nonprofits, or foundations outside of the congregation’s denomination or judicatory
- Using crowdfunding or other traditional fundraising methods to raise monetary support from outside of the congregation’s membership
- Receiving corporate sponsorships
- Repurposing endowment funds for ministry, not just to balance the budget
- Experimenting with and/or implementing a method of reducing the congregation’s budget. These reduction methods might include, but are not limited to:
- Utilizing creative staffing models like shifting from a full time minister to a bivocational or part-time minister
- Selling ministry property or sharing ministry property with another congregation
- Experimenting with and/or creating an entirely self-sustaining ministry (i.e. a cafe ministry of the church that doesn’t rely on any funding from the congregation to sustain itself).
BONUS: She is especially interested in ministries who have shifted their economic model in the past 10 years.
She would be grateful for any and all suggestions you can offer. Please use this Google Form to share your ministry site suggestions by Friday, August 31. Fill out one form for each site suggestion. If you have more than five sites you would like to suggest, please email Grace Pomroy at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can find a more expedient way for you to share your suggestions. Have questions or know of someone else Grace should be in touch with about this topic? Please email her at email@example.com.
Grace looks forward to sharing her findings with the Luther Seminary community once the research project is complete.
P.S. – Curious to learn more about funding forward and see examples of the types of ministries Grace is looking for? Check out this article!