As a church, outreach with our neighbors is an important part of our mission, and we try to recognize that in the way we use our resources.
Missional Grant Fund
Who: Groups, including CORE Groups, or individuals.
What: Grants to help fund new initiatives or to make one-time financial contributions to local charities.
- Meal and supplies for meal at homeless shelter (e.g., La Casa) or residential home (e.g., Miriam’s House)
- One-time check to an organization (e.g., $500 to Christ House or the Latin American Youth Center)
- One-time expenses related to ministry
- Tools and supplies (e.g., work gloves, shovels, brooms, tutoring and educational materials)
- Direct assistance to needy (e.g., lunch bags, blankets, coats, hats, clothing items)
- Meals to facilitate interaction between Advent members/attendees and non-Advent community members (e.g., neighborhood block party, meal following or during service project)
What is the Missional Grant Fund?
The Missional Grant Fund (MGF) is designed to provide financial support to members and regular attenders of Advent to engage in creative, missional projects that advance the kingdom of God in Washington, DC and align with Church of the Advent’s mission: Seeking the city to come. The MGF is managed by the Stewardship Team (ST).
1. An individual or regular attender of Advent.
2. A clear vision & purpose stated within the application.
3. An estimated itemized budget (it is expected that all unused funds will be returned to the MGF).
The ST will approve or disapprove the proposal, or suggest amendments and contingently approve the amended version of the proposal. The team may also table a decision if further information is needed or revisions to the proposed activity are requested.
Evaluation & Testimony
Within one month of the conclusion of the missional project, the project coordinators must submit a brief written report to the ST answering the following questions:
- How has your project encouraged relationships between Advent and the larger community?
- In what ways can your project continue to bear fruit?
- How did your team grow through this experience? What lessons did you learn?
- Do you have any further comments/feedback?
The application is an online form. While you can go back and change your answers before submission, there is no option to save your progress so be sure you are ready to answer the questions below and can complete the application in one-sitting. We recommend creating a draft in MS Word and copying and pasting your answers. There are four primary parts to the application that you will want to think through and prepare before filling out the application:
- Description of the project
- Purpose or vision statement
- Explanation of how the Missional Grant will make the project possible
- Itemized budget for the project
In evaluating Missional Grant Fund applications, the ST uses a set of six principles (forming the acronym "CHRIST") that summarizes the objectives that Advent has for Missional Grants. The principles and questions below may be a helpful guide as you develop your project. Note that projects are not expected to embody all six of these principles, but you should consider all of them as you plan your project.
- Creative. Is your project redundant in the given context, or does it fill a void? How does it creatively apply the Gospel to some aspect of human life?
- Helpful. What are the practical needs addressed by your project? In what respect does its idea manifest the servant-love of Christ to others?
- Relational. To what degree will your project involve the church community in the context of the larger community? How does it apply the Gospel to relationships?
- Incarnational. How will your project enter the lives and contexts of the people it will serve and reveal Christ to them?
- Sustainable. Will this project begin a relationship that can be continued? How does this proposal align with the mission of Advent: Seeking the city to come?
- Transformational. In what way(s) does your project offer a Gospel-based way of thinking or behaving that challenges the status quo?
1. Are grants intended for recurring events or one-time events?
Both. A project can be recurring, ongoing, or a single event. Please note that for recurring/ongoing projects, the ST will be less likely to award a grant that covers full project costs.
2. Are grants retroactive?
No. Missional Grants are to help front the cost of projects not to reimburse projects that have already happened.
3. Are there minimum and maximum amounts?
Not necessarily. One of the goals for Missional Grants is that they be transformative, that they make possible projects that would not otherwise be possible. Ask yourself: if the members of your group or team each contributed a small amount of money to fund your project, would the costs be covered? If the answer is "yes," it may be worth reconsidering whether the Missional Grant is truly necessary. Conversely, an application that is seeking a large Missional Grant may genuinely need the funds to go forward and yet, the ST may at the same time have to carefully weigh the merits of devoting a substantial fraction of the total annual Missional Grant budget to a single project.
4. What if I miss the deadline, should I still apply?
Yes! There may be enough time for members of the ST to review your application before their monthly meeting. If there is not enough review time, then your application will be considered during the next month’s meeting. We will let you know.
5. What if our project doesn’t work out the way we planned?
Yes! There may be enough time for members of the ST to review your application before their monthly meeting. If there is not enough review time, your application will be considered during the next month's meeting. We will let you know.
6. Can I apply for more than one grant?
Yes. As long as you still attend Church of the Advent, you are eligible to apply.
A Missional Grant in Action
In 2009 two community groups had an idea to host a Thanksgiving feast for the men at the La Casa Homeless Shelter in Columbia Heights, and invited the church to participate. The goal of the project was to:
...demonstrate hospitality to our neighbors; support and encourage [the existing] ministry at La Casa; provide a healthy, hearty meal for the guys there; and give thanks for God's goodness to us.
This project creatively applied the Gospel message of loving our neighbors as ourselves by for the first time providing and hosting an evening of good food and fellowship with the homeless men in our neighborhood to celebrate Thanksgiving. The initiative was also helpful because our church showed love to a population that rarely receives it. The dinner promoted incarnational ministry between Advent attenders and the men at the shelter as we sat together at candle-lit tables in the shelter and shared stories of our lives with one another in an environment that was both intimate and welcoming. The relationships forged that evening were easily sustainable through our continued weekly visits to the shelter with coffee and donuts. Lastly, the dinner was transformational and aligned with the mission of Advent - “Seeking the city to come” - as it exemplified the boundless love of Christ, crossing racial, socioeconomic and cultural lines. The overall response from Adventers who attended the dinner was gratitude and awe at the way Christ’s love and grace was undeniably revealed throughout the evening. These Community Groups (now CORE Groups) provided and itemized budget and received funding for what they requested: hams, rolls, cutlery, plates, napkins and table decorations. They supplemented the meal by asking other Community Groups to bring side dishes and dessert. This was a great way of involving the whole church. The organizing group members set up for the event, served the meal and cleaned up afterwards along with the help of many others. This project was a huge success due to the work of these two Community Groups. The goal was clear, the project aligned with the CHRIST principle and the team came to the Parish Life Team (then-administrator of the MGF) when all they needed was funding.
Applicants applying for grants awarded during the quarterly process must submit their applications by the following dates:
- For events taking place between January 1 to April 30: submit application by December 1
- For events taking place between May 1 to August 31: submit application by April 1
- For events taking place between September 1 to December 31: submit application by August 1
Ad Hoc Deadlines
Applicants are encouraged to apply by the 1st of the preceding month to give the ST adequate time to review your application.