If I Had a Giant Pool of Money to Benefit Young Adults…
Katie Hays • November 2016
I don't have a giant pool of money to benefit young adults. But I can imagine one -- the liquidated assets, perhaps, of congregations that have faithfully served their purpose in their specific geographies and are ready to extend their legacy into the church's future. Please read these recommendations in the spirit in which they’re intended: as an imaginative exercise in how the wider church might help specific congregations that are ministering to and with young adults.
Imagine the giant pool of money -- a life-sustaining fund created by the established church for young congregations created by and for young adults. Here's how such a congregation could dip its foot in that pool.
1. Grants from this fund are for congregations that:
a. are recognized as “congregations in formation” by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ);
b. are at least three years old from their date of formation, and not more than ten years old;
c. employ and pay at least one full-time staff member or two part-time staff members;
d. meet weekly for worship;
e. practice sustainable and scalable forms of ministry;
f. consist mainly of young adults (under 30 years old) with a healthy generational mix, with young adults in significant positions of servant-leadership.
2. Leadership from such a congregation may apply for grants to supplement their annual operating budget in the amount of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000. Congregations may reapply every year, potentially receiving grants through their tenth year.
3. Applications are collections of short essays demonstrating significant strength in the following areas:
A. Missional Clarity (write <500 words each on two of the following)
(1) The congregation has specific missional priorities that most people in the church can articulate from memory.
(2) The congregation has a significant footprint in their community – i.e. people outside the church would miss them if they were gone.
(3) The majority of individuals in the congregation are called into consistent participation in the congregation’s ministry.
B. Leadership Health (write <500 words each on two of the following)
(1) Congregational leaders practice transparency in open meetings, involving the congregation in decision-making.
(2) The congregation has processes in place for preserving the health (and preventing the burnout) of the pastor/s and servant-leaders.
(3) The congregation’s servant-leaders have proactively identified the next hurdle in the church’s journey – i.e. they are looking ahead to the next challenge and making plans accordingly.
C. Buy-In (write <500 words each on all three of the following)
(1) The congregation has a strong core of congregants with longevity (participation of two+ years) and a healthy inflow of brand-new explorers; and has an idea of what makes a healthy ratio for their life together.
(2) The congregation has a successful record of fundraising from sources outside the congregation.
(3) The congregation is growing in stewardship – self-funding their operational costs at roughly 30% in their third year, 40% in their fourth year, 50% in their fifth year, and so on.
Thank you for thinking so hard about your good work, and for sharing what you've learned by doing it. We who are swimming in the pool will let you know as soon as we can.