Grants of up to £500 per church are available through the Resourcing Mission and Ministry (RMM) team
It’s hoped the Diocese of Sheffield’s Missional Activity Grant will help more people to grow their churches by starting new things.
This grant offers an investment of consultation time and an injection of finance of up to £500 to help develop mission pathways. The focus of the grant is to help churches think through their missional activities.
Previously, more than £37,000 was distributed to around 70 churches during the pandemic when a similar online grant was available. This new grant aims to replicate the ease of access and support of the online grant.
John Marsh, one of our Mission Development Advisers, says the book What Makes Churches Grow by Bob Jackson inspired him to set up this missional activity grant. Jackson shows this sort of grant helps to promote missional activity through giving small grants away.
John talks through the steps people can take to getting a successful application:
“We want to know how churches are going to use the money to help people to come to faith. Coming to faith can be a real Damascus road experience, but it can also be a really slow process of different steps. So, what we want to do is give the recipients of the grant some input on what those steps might be.
“We have set up a website which they can read first. The website details how people might move on in their faith journey, starting with people who are not connected to the church. The first step is making relationships to people and the church; the second step is finding out about Jesus and possibly making a commitment, and the third step is engaging in discipleship.
“How you get the grant is basically saying what you want to spend the money on and how it fits in with those three steps. It’s not means tested and we don’t ask whether you could afford £500 on your own or not. What matters is that we have a conversation about how you’re helping to provide a framework for people to move towards faith in Christ and discipleship.”
The grants can be used for all sorts of purposes, from room hire and Messy Church materials to buying coffee machines for fellowship. Eight applications have been received so far with three already approved.
Some of the bids include work with students and more missionally-focused baptismal follow-ups. John has also confirmed a bid from the diocese to the national church which would include providing these grants every year for six years. This pilot could potentially lead to more help being offered above the £500 limit.
Catch up sessions with the successful bids are planned for October to see how the projects are going, and to ask each group to evaluate their progress.
Revd Chris Herbert, Oversight Minister and Priest in Charge at St Mary Magdalene Campsall and St Helen’s Burghwallis, said:
“I have found the experience of applying for the Diocese’s Missional Activity Grant very encouraging. John Marsh was very helpful and we have arranged a further meeting, utilising John’s past knowledge and experience. I encourage other churches to take advantage of this offer.
The grant will be used to purchase two coffee machines. These machines will enable two new groups to start in the next few months; a Natter group and a Dementia Café, with support from the Alzheimer’s society and similar groups in Doncaster. Both groups are part of the continuing mission to support our local communities by the Benefice of St Mary Magdalene and St Helen’s Burghwallis.”
Priest in charge at St John’s Park Church in Sheffield, David Eastwood, said:
“We applied for a Missional Activity Grant to help with the costs of running a number of our outreach activities, but in particular our Monday Lunch Club which meets every Monday in church for anyone in our community where we serve a simple lunch, provide a pleasant environment for people to meet one another, and we offer free food parcels for any in need.
“We also invite any who attend to other things we run which may work for them – whether that be Messy Church, to one of our midweek Connect Groups, to Gather to Go our monthly discipleship group, or to Sunday services. We are beginning to see some now attending each of these other activities which provides us with opportunities to talk about faith issues more in the hope that they will become disciples of Jesus. The grant application is made very easy and is not at all time consuming.”
Bec Ackroyd is a Children’s Workers St John’s Owlerton:
“Our application hopes to see fruit from our outreach to baptism families from outside of the congregation. We want them to move from having their children baptised to them feeling welcome, warmly invited, engaged and connected through follow-ups, groups and events. We want them to know we aim to fulfil the promises we make as a church family to help them raise their child in faith and feel a part of our family. We aim to provide them with opportunities for exploration of their own faith.
“John was really supportive, available and helpful in the whole grant application process, which was quite straightforward, and he had some great suggestions for further support in fulfilling our goal, beyond simply receiving the funding.”
James Kirk is a Focal Minister at St Leonard’s Wortley:
“We are currently in the process of launching an exciting new project called Northern Souls which explores a fresh mode of pre-evangelism, creating the opportunity to see closed minds open to the new possibilities of Jesus using human stories and creative literature.
“The Diocese’s Missional Activity Grant application process has been excellent, and I can’t thank the Diocese enough for its support and encouragement. If you are thinking of exploring new ideas for your church or community, I fully recommend reaching out to the Diocese.”