This week was a special time for the Foundation. We held our first in-person education event since March 2020! It is hard to describe how exhilarating it was to connect with each other during the two days we spent in Lancaster, PA, for the Advanced Financial Academy. Twenty pastors and laity are going through this program, which began with online meetings in September of 2021. During our time together we repeatedly heard gratitude for the ability to worship, share dreams, exchange ideas and encourage one another in a warm, collegial setting.
These students have been learning how to create multiple streams of income to expand mission and ministry, including property development, 501c3’s and community engagement. They are working on growing a culture of generosity in their congregations and learning how to seek large gifts, maximize assets, and fund new staff for ministry expansion.
Each student is working on a project specific to their church and ministry context, and the completion of the project will give them access to a grant from the Foundation. During these two days the group heard from experienced professionals on the topics of resistance to change and conflict resolution, in the context of implementing a vision for mission and ministry.
Some of the students shared their vision for the project they are working on:
- A historic urban church with a vibrant outreach ministry is beginning a capital campaign to replace their 200-foot steeple. They are forging connections out in the wider community, raising awareness of the mission of the church, and emphasizing their important role in the life of the city.
- A pastor of two small churches has developed generosity teams who have gone through a strategic planning process to come up with a vision to take the congregations from a “survival” mode to sustainable ministry through legacy giving.
- A large church in an area known for youth sports programs is developing a plan to convert part of their extensive property to a sports field. This will develop connection and hospitality with the community, as well as providing an additional source of revenue.
- A downtown city church is leveraging its excellent music program to develop a free music lesson ministry for neighborhood children.
We are excited to hear about how these, and all the students’ projects, are coming to fruition when we meet again in September.
Assistant Director, Customer Care