For nine years the Lutheran Laypeople’s League (LLL) has been awarding one congregation in each district of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) a Mission Stimulus Grant (MSG).
‘The MSG is a one-off grant, currently $25,000, available annually in each district of the LCA’, explains LCAQD’s Kathy Matuschka, Assistant Director of Ministry and Mission. ‘It enables a congregation, or group of congregations working together, to commence an innovative mission project in their local community that they would not otherwise be able to undertake due to a lack of funds.’
The LLL inaugurated the grant in 2010 in response to a request by the Queensland District. It was rolled out churchwide over the next two years.
The Council for Ministry and Mission and the Ministry and Mission Department staff together select the winner. The winner is announced and presented with their prize at the LCAQD Convention of Synod.
The 2018 recipient of the grant was Calvary Lutheran Church Rockhampton. ‘Calvary demonstrated a willingness to face their concerns about declining membership and the increasing average age of members by trying something different’, says Kathy, explaining why the congregation’s bid for the grant was selected. ‘They intend not only to employ an extra worker but also to increase the capacity of all members to share their faith. If by God’s grace Calvary is successful in restarting their congregation, it will not only benefit Rockhampton, but will also provide some lessons that can be shared with other smaller congregations both within LCAQD and churchwide’.
Rockhampton’s intended use of the grant is not unusual. Over the years the grant has most commonly been used to employ a second ministry worker in congregations. ‘The benefits are that congregations can take a risk in trying something new while the LLL absorbs some of the financial risk’, Kathy continues. ‘This helps proposals to get over the line in the congregational context. Not only does this additional paid ministry worker provide the hours to do more things, but they can add new gifts and perspectives which bring encouragement to both existing staff and members.’
Calvary’s grant will go towards ‘Project Restart’. They intent to continue work that they have already started in reconnecting with the children and grandchildren of current members, who no longer attend worship. The congregation will employ a trainee Special Ministry Pastor to continue to develop connections and opportunities for faith development among lapsed members and also people who have no church background.
‘They have already commenced an evening gathering, and plan to develop this space using new, innovative and collaborative mission-oriented approaches in changed and changing mission fields’, Kathy says.
Does your congregation have a mission project that needs a boost in funding? To find out more about the grant visit http://www.qld.lca.org.au/mission-stimulus-grant.html