by Stephen Kriss
Over the last ten years, Franconia Conference has released over $500,000 through the Missional Operations Grant (MOG) fund. These grants are tools that help instigate and cultivate missional initiatives connected with our Conference and congregations. They’ve been used broadly over the last decade to cultivate ministries in our local congregations and around the world from India to Indonesia to Mexico and the Caribbean, even assisting in the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina.
As staff work with congregations developing ministries to further the mission and vision of the Kingdom of God and Franconia Conference, they are able to help resource these initiatives with MOGs. Our last staff meeting involved a spirited discussion how to best continue to implement and inform the use of this significant tool justly, fairly, and openly across our congregations.
Congregations are able to apply for MOGs and with the blessing of the LEADership Minister and congregation leadership these applications are passed on to the Ministry Resource Fund Grant Committee. The MOGs approved by the committee focus on ministries within conference congregation or partnerships between congregations and other organizations/ministries. The projects funded are intent on mutuality, rooted in considerations of justice, building on strengths, and calling forth new and next-generation leaders. To see a list of the projects funded in 2015 visit the MOG tab at: http://franconiaconference.org/mission/stewardship/.
Last year, due to a change in allocation of funds in the account (reduced from 20% to 10% of total available dollars), there are less funds available causing us to be more strategic this year with the reduced dollars. Already this year 8 MOG grants have been approved mostly to our urban congregations (keep your eye on the MOG webpage at FranconiaConference.org for coming testimonies). With our average grant amount coming in at approximately $4000, we have only enough left in the fund this year to grant possibly two to three additional requests. We’ve capped the requests this year at $5000 per congregation with only a single disbursement likely. Grants are requested through an application process that should be done in consultation with the congregation’s LEADership Ministers and then approved by the Ministry Resource Fund Grant Committee. More information can be found on the MOG tab at: http://franconiaconference.org/mission/stewardship/.
The grants allow the Conference and LEADership Ministers to assist in funding creative spaces for our churches. The return on investment of these funds is high though the initiatives themselves don’t always seem successful in a traditional sense of understanding. The grants invite our congregations to take risks for the sake of the dream of God. We trust the outcomes into God’s hands.
Most MOG funds are sourced from estate bequests and contributions from the revenue from Conference-owned properties. This year we are expecting to receive an estate gift that will likely allow an increase in available funds for next year. If you’d like to help boost our ongoing capacity to instigate missional initiatives now and into the future, I’d be glad to talk with you or your congregation. You or your congregation are welcome to donate specifically to the MOG Fund as well. This is important and generative work. It’s a glimpse of the good that comes when we can share the labor together in times of opportunity and possibility.
We still work and hope. And we trust in the power of Christ to take our work and multiply it for the sake of the world.