Foundation Accepting Applications for Church Financial Leadership Grants

April 16, 2019 by Susan Herman

Applications, which you can fill out here, are now being accepted for the Presbyterian Foundation’s Church Financial Leadership Grant program.

Applicants must be a pastor, commissioned ruling elder, (CRE), or leader of a 1001 New Worshiping Community within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Church stewardship team members are encouraged to apply with their pastors. The grants will enable pastoral leaders to institute best practices for church financial leadership, introduce them to new models of giving and stewardship, and offer new ways to talk about money and form generous disciples within their church.

“Grantees have reported transformative effects on their ministry context from increased giving, feeling more comfortable talking about money,” says Rev. David Loleng, Director of Church Financial Literacy for the Presbyterian Foundation. “They are learning that financial leadership isn’t just about fund raising but is also about forming generous disciples and churches that make an impact in their communities.”

Education changed pastors’ perspectives

Rev. David Duquette, pastor of Pennside Presbyterian Church in Reading, Pennsylvania, used the grant to attend the Stewardship Kaleidoscope conference. The number one change that resulted from his participation, he says, is that he helped his church “make a shift from pledging in order to meet the budget to pledging for the sake of the mission.”

Each week’s offering is now introduced along with a story about the church’s mission that concludes: “This was possible because you gave.” The church also integrated e-giving options across multiple platforms, from QR-scannable pledge cards to the Give Now button on its internet homepage. As a result of these changes, David says, giving levels increased by 4% even as membership contracted by about 25% over the same period. “Seeing stewardship as a joy has been a game changer for me and for our church,” Duquette says.

Rev. Brandi Casto-Waters, who serves First Presbyterian Church in Greer, South Carolina, also attended Stewardship Kaleidoscope. “I have studied stewardship for many years,” Casto-Waters says. “The conference helped to re-energize my leadership of the session as we seek to be church in a changing culture.”

Last November, the pastoral staff at Casto-Waters’s church hand delivered Stewardship Bags to all new members. The bag contained the stewardship letter, pledge card, narrative budget, a list of mission opportunities, a bag of Café Justo (one of the church’s mission partners)—plus an invitation to a Day of Service preceding Dedication Sunday, with lunch following worship on that day. “Our hope was that this pastoral visit would educate new folks about stewardship and invite them to join the church in meaningful opportunities for service,” Casto-Waters says.

Grant provides matching funds

The Church Financial Leadership grants are matching funds, and applicants must provide the source(s) for the other half of expenses. Eligible expenses include registration fees, transportation, lodging, meals and other expenses for approved church financial leadership events, training and continuing education opportunities. The application deadline is June 17. Applications received after the June 15 deadline will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Grant applications take approximately four weeks to process. Applications are available at presbyterianfoundation.org/financialleadership. If you have questions, send an email to serving@presbyterianfoundation.org.

The grants were made possible from the Foundation’s work as part of a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders.

Susan Herman is a freelance writer and editor. She worships and volunteers on the music team at Carmichael Presbyterian Church near Sacramento, Calif.