New Ministries Fund
Central Plains Mennonite Conference receives occasional estate gifts. The most substantial gift we have received to date came from the Jennings Kauffman estate. Smaller gifts have been received. Some estate gifts carry stipulations for their use while others do not. Because estate gifts are given in someone’s memory, the hope of those giving these gifts is that they will have more enduring impact that simply funding our operating budget. Occasionally, estate gifts have been given and the family would like some guidance in allocating these funds toward conference purposes that are aligned with the interests of the donor. Where no stipulation is given we will appropriate estate or other individual gifts to one of four categories within the New Ministries Fund:
We seek to strengthen relationships between congregations, between congregations and conference, between congregations and denomination, and with the global church. By facilitating relationship we learn from each other, break down walls that divide, and understand our community better. To facilitate relationships we think of initiatives focused on bringing congregations together within our conference for fellowship, study, and service. We think of supporting the Ecuador partnership and funds needed to foster service and learning trips to build and strengthen our relationships with the fledgling Mennonite Churches in Quito and Riobamba. We think of helping to foster partnering relationships between historic congregation and emerging congregations for mutual support, mentoring, and cooperative learning. We think of providing financial assistance to enable racial/ethnic leaders and young adults to serve as conference delegates to our biannual general assemblies.
Witness involves both our being and our doing. It also involves articulating why we do things. It is only as we can articulate our beliefs that we are able to share those beliefs with others. By learning why we believe the way we do and by being able to say how we are unique as Christians and as Mennonites, we can invite other to join our story. This also has to do with identity, theology, core values, and purpose. To enhance our witness, we think of initiatives focused on evangelism, nurturing our peace witness, and new church development.
Congregations need leaders, both credentialed and lay. Calling out leaders, training leaders, and caring for leaders is important for the work of the church. To develop leaders, we think of initiatives focused on providing scholarships for pastoral training study programs, Instituto Biblico Anabautisa (Spanish language leadership for Hispanic congregations), and conference-based leadership training programs for pastors, elders, and deacons.
Nurture Christian Formation
Tending our souls, individually and corporately, keeps us grounded in and connected to the source of our life in Christ. Christian disciples are nurtured through practices such as prayer, Bible reading, singing, service, storytelling, teaching and many others. To nurture Christian formation, we think of initiatives focused on curriculum development and training for Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, Bible Study leaders, support for children’s ministries, and resources for those who prepare candidates for baptism.
These four areas represent our priorities that we believe will strengthen our congregations and enhance our collective witness to the reconciling work of Jesus for the sake of the world.
1. The Stewardship Task Group recommends that we use these categories of activity to determine the use of the Fund.
2. The balance of Unrestricted Funds as of April 1, 2012 will be allocated evenly across the four priority areas.
3. When gifts are given and stipulated for a specific use, this money will be held in the New Ministries Fund as “Restricted Funds” until they are disbursed for the specific purpose.
4. When gifts are given and stipulated for use toward one or more of the conference priorities, this money will be held in the New Ministries Fund as “Priority Discretionary Funds” until the specific use is identified by relevant committees, task groups or board and approved by the Conference Board.
5. When gifts are given and no purpose is stipulated by the donor, these funds will be held in the New Ministries Fund as “Unrestricted Funds” and may be used for any conference purpose as approved by the Conference Board.
6. The money will be kept in an interest earning account.
7. The Conference Board will disburse no more than 15% of the balance of the unrestricted funds annually as determined on April 30 of the prior year. The amounts may vary each year according to earnings, gifts received and number of requests.
8. Though this fund will not operate as a traditional endowment where the principal will fund applications in perpetuity, the Conference Board will approve disbursements for ministries that will result in enduring impact. In other words, funding will be approved for activities that demonstrate that they will further the mission and priorities of Central Plains Mennonite Conference beyond those activities funded by the operating budget.
When new opportunities for ministry are presented to our program committees, committees can apply to the Conference Board to receive grants to support these new ministries. The Stewardship Task Group will devise an application process and an application form. They will also prepare information materials for distribution to congregations. They shall see to on-going promotion of the Fund among the congregations.
Adopted by the Conference Board, February 23, 2012