Missions Committee to Set Funding Recommendations for Supported Ministries
To support the Church of The Good Samaritan’s mission to be a “Great Commission” church, the Vestry commits at least 10% of a previous year’s general giving to missions and outreach. For the current year, 2017, this tithe resulted in a missions budget of over $210,000. Nearly all these budgeted funds are designated for over 25 local, national, and worldwide missionary and outreach efforts.
Each fall, the missions committee receives applications for funding support from both organizations and programs we have supported in past years as well as five to ten organizations making a first-time application for funding. Working with a tentative budget based on total giving estimates, a “Grants” subcommittee of the missions committee reviews all applications based on policy-set criteria (see details later in this report). Decisions must be made first whether to fund or reject an organization’s application. If the committee decides to accept a request, then it must decide a dollar amount for recommended funding. (For 2017, these amounts ranged from $1,000 to $20,000. Levels are based on the organization’s needs and plans, as well as what is seen as the consistency between the organization’s mission and our church’s priorities.)
After several sessions, the grants committee submits its recommendations for funding to the Vestry. The process is time-consuming and also difficult, as all organizations that submit applications are doing good work and are quite worthy. Unfortunately, the available funds are never enough to fund all requests, and often our level of funding is less than what the organization needs.
The Grants committee is guided by the church’s evaluation criteria for mission funding, and all applications are measured against this criteria. The criteria includes:
- Relevance to our Church Vision/Mission. We strive to foster missionary efforts that reflect our church’s fundamental vision.
- Involvement and Passion of church members in and for the organization’s mission and cause.
- Making a Financial Difference: We try to gauge the degree to which our financial contribution is critical to the work and success of the organization. For some, our support makes all the difference for their work; for others, we are one of many sources of support. (This one is difficult, as just because an organization is large and has worked to have broad support, this doesn’t mean they don’t need support from people like us.)
- Opportunity to Foster Spiritual Growth Among Our Members. This relates to the degree to which our members can “get involved” with the work of the organization and grow spiritually from such involvement. Often, folks can go on a mission trip or sponsor a child/student in an organization. For some missionary efforts, such involvement may be nearly impossible, such as with missionaries working in primarily Islamic areas.
- Accountability of the Organization. We realize we are called to be responsible for our church’s resources. We try to measure whether the organization is employing good practices consistent with such stewardship. We also include the ways the organization tries to keep us up-to-date with its work and prayer needs.
A more complete version of this “criteria” is available here.
All organizations receive a copy of the criteria so they can be well aware of how we evaluate applications.
- As the Missions Committee begins the challenging work of reviewing missionary applications, please hold the committee in prayer:
- Give thanks that our church does take its call to be a Great Commission church seriously and is blessed with the resources to provide financial support for our many supported ministries.
- Pray that the Grants Committee will be able to discern and draw on the guidance of the Holy Spirit as it considers what missionary efforts to fund and at what levels of funding. Pray, too, that the committee will be good stewards of the generous resources our congregation provides.
- Pray that the more than 25 missionary organizations we fund will be good stewards of financial resources and that our giving will make a positive difference for their important work.