Overview of Health & Renewal Grants

 

 

What is the Health & Renewal program?
Who is the program for?
Why a program for health & renewal?
How does the funding work?
What kind of proposal is required?
What do I have to do to submit a proposal?
What are the practices SCE has identified as essential to congregational health?
What are the ten characteristics of a healthy congregation as identified by the CRCNA Board of Trustees?
How long does a grant last?
What size grant will be given?
Are any matching funds or in-kind resources required?
What will the grant money cover?
What won’t the grant money cover?
What is SCE coaching?
Are there situations where a congregation may apply for more than one grant?
What happens when a proposal is approved?
Is there a deadline for submitting proposals?
Are there any reporting requirements?
What else do I need to know?

To see the grant application form, click here.
To see a completed sample application, click here. 
To read quotes from grantees, click here. 


What is the Health & Renewal program?
It’s a program to encourage churches to think creatively about how they can nurture the health of their congregation and/or how they can impact the community in which they minister. Submitting a grant application doesn’t mean a congregation is unhealthy; it means that it wants to renew or refresh its vision and/or its ministries.

Who is the program for?
It’s intended to assist smaller congregations in the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). A smaller congregation is any congregation that has 150 active, adult professing members or less—based on the data in the current Yearbook. Larger congregations, over 150 active professing members, may also be a part of the program if they partner with a smaller congregation in a project.

In order to receive a grant congregations are required to be active participants in their classis and to contribute at least 10% of their denominational ministry shares.

Congregations that are established, emerging, or a church plant (recognized by the CRC) are eligible for a grant. For emerging and church plants the following apply:
•  Ordinarily, the church has been holding public worship services for at least one year. 
•  Ordinarily, the church has at least 25 active, adult professing members - based on the data in the current 
    Yearbook.

SCE is unable to award funds to projects, ministries, or gatherings unless they are a part of an eligible congregation.

Why a program for Health & Renewal?
In 2005, Synod stated that creating and sustaining healthy congregations would be our denominational priority. At that time Synod approved Ministry Shares for promoting healthy congregations, with a focus on smaller congregations. The SCE program has been put into place to distribute the allocated ministry shares. Health and renewal are vital to our congregations, both now and for the future.

How does the funding work?
SCE offers grants to smaller churches that wish to foster health or renewal in themselves or their communities. These congregations submit proposals to the SCE Implementation Team, which discusses them, shares them selectively for input by others, and considers them for approval.  

What kind of proposal is required?
We encourage a variety of proposals. A one-size-fits-all approach to health and renewal would be inappropriate. Projects can include leadership training, transition steps (for example: between pastors), partnerships of various kinds, coaching, revisioning, testing new models of leadership, youth programming, service projects, community transformation efforts, training in racial reconciliation, new ways of being “church,” materials for visitors, or any other creative project that promotes health or renewal within the congregation. 

As you develop your proposal, you are encouraged to consult the various CRCNA ministry agencies: your ideas may well be integrated with services they provide.

What do I have to do to submit a proposal?
•  Carefully read this entire overview document as it contains valuable information needed when 
    completing the Health & Renewal grant application form.
•  Complete the application form – answering all of the questions as requested.
•  Designate one congregant as the coordinator; the coordinator must be a professing member of the
    congregation.
•  Designate one congregant as the treasurer; the treasurer must be a professing member of the
    congregation and may not be the same person as the coordinator.  The church treasurer isn’t required 
    to fill this role but may do so. Note: The project coordinator and treasurer may not be immediate family
    members.
•  Confirm that council has approved the proposal.
•  Ensure that current Yearbook data has been submitted.
•  Ensure that a minimum of 10% of required denominational ministry shares have been contributed.

A completed sample application is avaialble on the SCE website to assist you as you work on your proposal.

What are the practices SCE has identified as essential to congregational health?
1.  Prayer—pray in every way and with as much participation as you can. Confess your sins. Thank God
     for his gifts. Pray for each other. Pray for enemies. Intercede for your community, your country, and the
     world. And especially, listen--listen for what God has to say to you. Then look at the other nine
     characteristics of a healthy congregation for where you may need to change.
2.  Developing a sense of purpose—and sacrifice for it; as you go forward, don’t try to do everything; do 
     what God has gifted you to do and what suits your context.
3.  Looking outward—discover how God can use you for his loving purposes in your community and in
     the world.

What are the ten characteristics of a healthy congregation as identified by the CRCNA Board of Trustees?
1.  Proclaim God’s Word with power and integrity
2.  Assemble for worship in joyful awe
3.  Receive the gospel promises in the sacraments
4.  Nurture and teach members for discipleship
5.  Center congregational life in prayer
6.  Commit to evangelistic growth and church planting both locally and globally
7.  Promote genuine loving fellowship
8.  Advocate justice for the poor and the powerless
9.  Encourage servant (or shepherding) leadership
10. Practice mutual accountability
 
How long does a grant last?
Generally the grant period is one year however since each project is unique, this may vary from project to project. Our hope is that projects can be self-sustaining after their grant period is completed. Applications for a grant renewal will be considered. Ordinarily, first year applications will be given priority over applications to renew or for 2nd/3rd requests from a church. Churches may receive a maximum of three grants in a 5-year period. The 5-year period begins on the date when the first grant is awarded. For example: If the first grant is awarded in January 2010 the church may apply for another "1st time grant" any time after January 2015.

What size grant will be given?
The maximum grant amount is $5,000. However, if coaching is part of the project an additional $1,000 may be requested for coaching expenses. (See "What is SCE coaching" for details on coaching.)

Are any matching funds or in-kind resources required?
No.  However, congregations are encouraged to indicate what resources of their own will be contributed to the project—whether funds, labor or materials—as a way of demonstrating their ability to continue the project beyond the term of the grant.

What will the grant money cover?
Health & Renewal grants are intended to cover a range of possible expenses. Exactly what expenses will be covered depends on the project.  Examples of ordinarily fundable expenses are:
•  training events/conferences – including registration fees, hotel and food costs (non-alcoholic drinks only), 
    travel to event
•  retreats – including facility rental, speaker fees/travel costs, food, resources
•  resource materials – including books, videos, DVDs, notebooks, training materials
•  travel – to an event/conference, speaker’s travel costs
•  consultant fees
•  coaching fees –  for coaching directly related to the proposed project – SCE has coaches that are able
    to work with you (See "What is SCE coaching" for details on coaching.)
•  outreach costs – including resource materials, hospitality costs (food), banners, some advertising
    (Note: SCE encourages advertising options other than bulk mailing and newspaper ads as their
    effectiveness is very limited)
•  programming costs – including resource materials, supplies
•  salaries/wages - for a new position that is directly related to the project – total amount not to
    exceed 20% of amount requested
•  equipment (purchased or rented) – for items required to carry out the project – total amount not to exceed  
    20% of amount requested
•  space improvement - for areas of the church building that will be used for the project – total amount not  
    to exceed 20% of amount requested
•  an existing ministry IF it is significantly enhanced and/or expanded from the current programming

Grant money must be used according to the approved budget. If changes are needed, permission from the SCE office is required prior to making payments. The funds are to be deposited into a church bank account.

What won’t the grant money cover?
•  ongoing organizational expenses – i.e.: utility expenses, office supplies, maintenance on
    equipment/building
•  existing ministry if no significant changes are to be made to it
•  personal expenses of any kind
•  out-of-country travel - that is outside of Canada/the US
•  activities initiated prior to the awarding of the grant – activities must start after February 1 (for 
    proposals submitted for December 1 deadline) or after August 1 (for proposals submitted for June 1
    deadline)
•  items not list in the grant proposal – if a grant has been awarded and a change is needed, please
    contact the SCE office to discuss this
•  existing staff positions
•  compensation for either the project coordinator’s or project treasurer’s work/time associated with the
    grant project
•  building repairs/renovations
•  landscaping costs

What is SCE coaching?
The coaching component of the HR project is optional. If a congregation would like a coach to walk alongside them during their project, it may request an SCE coach on the application form. Upon approval of the proposal, the church will be sent a document explaining the coaching process. Churches are able to select a coach from the available SCE coaches. Since the coaching takes place over the phone, it doesn’t matter where the coach is located. Ordinarily, the coach will work with the pastor and one ministry leader for the duration of the project.

There may be cases where, after reading the submitted proposal, the SCE Implementation Team will recommend/encourage a congregation to enter into a coaching relationship as it works through its project. In this situation, the final decision as to whether or not coaching will take place is up to the congregation.

In either of the above two situations, an additional $1,000 will be added to the grant amount awarded to cover the coaching costs. The project treasurer is responsible for paying the coach.

The coaching process will begin with the church identifying which coach they’d like to work with (from the list provided). The church will then complete a short questionnaire, and the coaching will begin. The coach will prepare reports after each session—which are only for the coach and the church.

Are there situations where a congregation may apply for more than one grant?
Yes in the following situations:
1.  to complete a project begun with a first grant
     •  the amount requested must be less than what was received for the first grant
     •  the same project won’t be funded for more than two consecutive years
2.  for a second, third, or a new project
     •  priority will be given to congregations who are submitting a proposal for the first time 
     •  the amount awarded depends on the project – the previously awarded amount doesn’t necessarily
         influence the second request

There’s no required waiting period between grants. However, one grant must be completed before another proposal will be considered. Churches may receive a maximum of three grants in a 5-year period. The 5 year period begins on the date when the first grant is awarded. For example: If the first grant is awarded in January 2010 the church may apply for another “1st time grant” any time after January 2015.

What happens when a proposal is approved?
A proposal agreement and instructions will be sent to the coordinator. The agreement must be signed by the coordinator, treasurer, and chair of council. The coordinator is responsible for implementation of the agreement. The signed agreement and any revisions to the proposal, if required, are to be returned to the SCE office within 90 days.  Failure to do so will result in the grant being reversed.

One half of the grant amount will be sent to the project treasurer upon receipt of the signed contract and a revised proposal, if required. (An amount greater than one half may be sent, but only if warranted by the nature of the proposal.) The other half will be sent after six months, pending receipt of the project’s first written and financial reports. At the end of the proposal year, unused funds must be returned.

Is there a deadline for submitting proposals?
Yes. Health & Renewal proposals are considered twice a year.  The deadlines for submitting them are June 1 and December 1.  We ask that proposals be submitted electronically whenever possible.  Receipt of proposals will be acknowledged with an email to the coordinator - usually within 24 hours. If you have not heard from our office, please call to verify that the proposal was received.

The SCE office will send notice about grants awarded to applicants for the June 1 deadline by August 1 and for the December 1 deadline by February 1.

Are there any reporting requirements?
The project coordinator is asked to submit a simple mid-year report that describes the project to date. At the same time, the project treasurer is asked to submit a financial report, including receipts, which accounts for use of the grant funds. On receipt of both reports, the remainder of the funds will be sent. At the end of the grant year, the coordinator provides a short final report of activities, outcomes, and learning. The treasurer provides a final financial report with receipts.  If there are any funds remaining at this point, a check needs to be submitted to SCE along with the final financial report.

Note: Upon approval of a congregation’s project, specific reporting information and forms will be sent to the coordinator and financial reporting instructions will be sent to the treasurer.

What else do I need to know?
We strongly encourage you to contact the SCE office (877-279-9994  X2267 toll free) to discuss your proposal prior to the submission deadline. We’ve found preliminary consultation benefits the congregation as they think through their project and prepare their proposal. It has resulted in enhanced success in proposal writing.

The SCE Implementation Team will utilize the resources of CRCNA agency personnel for assisting churches in grant development, project implementation, and evaluation.

Information in Health & Renewal proposals and in reports to SCE may be used by SCE on its website,  in its promotional materials, or in its reporting to the Board of Trustees of the CRCNA and/or to Synod. No financial information will be shared outside of the SCE offices.

 

For further information please contact us.