Congregational Development Grant Application Details

The Fall 2020 Congregational Development Grant will be disbursed in 2021.

GNJ exists to recruit and develop transformational leaders so that people and communities experience healing, renewal and wholeness from God. Transformational leaders grow vital congregations who shape passionate disciples of Jesus Christ and share faith, hope and justice in the community.

GNJ seeks to develop Holy Spirit-led servant-leaders who forge a path forward where others do not see the way. A GNJ leader reaches out beyond the walls of the church into the community to transform lives by spreading God’s love, hope and justice and bearing witness to Jesus Christ. (Matthew 23:11, Philippians 4:13)

GNJ leaders are fruitful by growing new disciples, worship, small groups, mission engagement and giving. GNJ will work with and grow leaders to be:

  • Fruitful – grow new passionate disciples, inspiring worship, active small groups, risk taking community mission, and generous giving to mission.
  • Transformational – lead congregations through missional, cultural and identity change.
  • Apostolic – are on a clear mission to create something more than what is. Paul was an apostolic leader who went to places with few or no believers and his leadership transformed the community by generating congregations of passionate disciples.

We are currently serving in unprecedented times. COVID-19 is an affliction, an affliction that requires perseverance. Perseverance fuels innovation, which produces resiliency and progress. Progress produces hope and together, with that hope, we will spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and transform communities.

Because of GNJ leadership, disciples will be even more passionate, congregations will be even more vibrant and fruitful and people and communities will experience healing, renewal and wholeness from God.

GNJ is committed to resource and support congregations and clergy and lay leadership to assess and improve their pathways for disciples to know, grow in, live and share the life of Jesus every day, so that we increase the number of new disciples and vital congregations

How do vital congregations grow?

  • Inspired and inviting worship
  • Engaged disciples in mission and outreach
  • Gifted, empowered and equipped lay leadership
  • Equipped, effective, and inspired clergy leadership
  • Faith-formed small group ministries, and
  • Strong children and youth ministries.

God also calls United Methodists to do better in ending racism, privilege and oppression in the church and world. GNJ has been a leader in diversity, and yet GNJ still has more journey to travel. It is evident after talking with people who have experienced racism and harm that GNJ has the opportunity at this moment to go deeper in its work to end the sin of racism and take action to repair past harm.

In order to address and end racism in GNJ, A Journey of Hope initiative was presented and passed during the 2020 Annual Conference session. This initiative sets forth a bold plan for GNJ to work together to end the sin of racism as we build on our past progress and go deeper in our ministry to create a more just, inclusive and equitable church and society. It calls us to ACT by creating compelling Aspirations to end the sin of racism, deepening Comprehension and understanding of racism and how to end racism by living and acting differently, and Transform our beliefs, values, policies, actions to be a more racially just, inclusive and equitable church and society.

A Journey of Hope calls us to an urgent and spiritual journey and our destination is the transformation of minds, hearts, actions and systems so that we eliminate the sin of racism in GNJ.

Starting in January 2021 and ensured by January 2022, all grants to congregations (and GNJ supported Hope Centers and organizations) must have A Journey of Hope Plan that is appropriate to their context. The plan will address your resources, leadership, services, policies and procedures, and how you invest in leadership and your community. While you do not have to submit a Journey of Hope plan prior to or with the 2020 Congregational Development Grant application, you will be asked to commit to submitting a Journey of Hope Plan in 2021. A guide for developing A Journey of Hope plan and guidelines will be available on the GNJ Webpage in the weeks to come.

A church or group of churches should only submit one grant application to cover all their grant requests.

The application is designed to be completed electronically. The application and supporting documents must be submitted in PDF format. Only applications submitted in this format will be considered. If you need assistance in creating a pdf, click here.

The Following Criteria Apply:

  • Ministry program must align with the purpose outlined above
  • Grants are awarded for one year at a time
  • Organizations receiving grants must submit the following:
    • A copy of their Safe Sanctuaries Certification
    • Church current YTD Financial Report (Income/Expenses)
    • Most recent Fund Balance Report
  • Must commit to submit a completed Journey of Hope Plan in 2021
  • Must be committed to be a racially just, inclusive and equitable congregation and demonstrate being just, inclusive and equitable in one or more of the following areas: women in leadership, disability access, LGBTQ inclusion or ministries with low income persons in rural, urban and suburban areas.
  • Subsequent grants in following years must demonstrate progress in all areas of A Journey of Hope Plan.

Applications must be received by December 15, 2020. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.  Submit the following application and address all questions to

Download Application Here: