SYNOD FUND FOR INNOVATION & COLLABORATION
GMS Innovation and Collaboration Grants:
We believe that God is calling us to work together in new ways. While the need for innovation and collaboration has long been evident, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to embrace technology as part of our everyday church lives in livestream worship and Zoom meetings, and to explore new ways to share information and build community. The videos of police shootings and the subsequent protests throughout our communities raised greater awareness of the legacy of white supremacy and the meaning of
The Equipping the Saints appeal will provide space and resources to discover and teach innovative and collaborative practices to both lay leaders and rostered ministers. These practices will build on what we have learned about doing church in new ways, help us grow as places of healing and renewal, and move us forward in our commitment to work for racial equity. A synod-wide learning community will be characterized by bold ambition, responsibility to the community, and collaboration. We will also partner with the ELCA’s Innovation and Leadership Lab, which is currently building a movement of innovative leaders across the country.
Exciting innovations and collaborations are already taking root and transforming communities within our synod:
A prairie at Faith Lutheran Church in Cedarburg sprang into bloom in Spring 2020, replacing two acres of mown grass. It is providing a place of respite and connection with the community and with nature as children run through the mown paths and people gather in different circles for conversation, learning, meditation, and creative play.
The “TACOS” program (Teens Around the Community of Sussex) is a partnership between Cooperating Churches of Sussex, Christ our Savior Lutheran Church, and the Wellness Resource Network. TACOS builds teen resiliency while creating Christian community with those who may not have a church home.
“The Table” is an ELCA worshipping community that meets in Alice’s Garden, a hub for food justice, community, wholeness, and faith. The many ministries that happen here create space for everyone who enters – including those who may never enter a traditional sanctuary – to encounter the love of God in their daily lives.
Mission appeal funds will provide grants of up to $50,000 to support congregations and other ministries which engage in experiments that shape a new generation of church expressions. These grants will create an ever-expanding network of congregations and leaders who innovate faithfully and share best practices as they explore new ways of being church and inviting more people into life-changing relationships with Jesus Christ.
GMS Innovation and Collaboration grants for congregations will:
- Establish ministries to reach un-served and underserved people;
- Equip leaders of this synod to proclaim the Gospel in new ways;
- Reach at least 10,000 new people with the Gospel.
INVESTMENT NEEDED: $375,000
OFH Collaboration Grants
For over 25 years, Outreach for Hope (OFH) has organized resources to support vibrant ministries in communities combatting poverty across the Greater Milwaukee Synod. Fifty percent of the fund for innovation and collaboration ($375,000) will be dedicated to providing OFH Collaboration Grants that will:
- Enhance relationships between diverse communities;
- Explore new partnership models for urban, suburban, and rural ministries to foster deep, authentic, and collaborative relationships with one another;
- Identify steps for deep and lasting change that build strong and sustainable ministries wherever they are located.
The grants provided will strengthen the life-changing ministries of OFH by providing opportunities for urban, suburban, and rural partners to collaborate in new ways:
- Training in communication and story-telling strategies so that all partners better understand the needs and impact of OFH ministries;
- Developing long-term fund raising and planned giving capabilities of OFH to ensure long-term viability;
- Hosting shared asset-mapping events so that all partners better understand and make use of the gifts they bring;
- Facilitating dialogue events to enhance mutual understanding and to foster a shared approach to ministry;
- Developing ministries that can serve as alternative revenue streams to meet current needs and strengthen long-term sustainability;
- Adapting ministries based on identified outcomes to increase effective use of resources;
- Providing seed grants for projects that address needed systemic change.
The result of the OFH Collaboration grants will be:
- 500 new people from across Greater Milwaukee engaged in the work of OFH partners;
- Sustainable funding streams being put into place to cover at least 25% of OFH’s annual recurring needs;
- 25 new partnership relationships among synod and community ministries.
INVESTMENT NEEDED: $375,000
STAFFING FOR INNOVATION & COLLABORATION
To embed innovation and collaboration into the life of the synod, we will refocus the work of the Assistant for Evangelical Mission on coordinating and empowering this work. Other administrative and grant responsibilities of that current position will shift to a new role of an Administrative Assistant for Innovation and Collaboration. These two positions will work together to expand coaching and training events to develop gifts of leaders across the synod, convene gatherings to develop and foster innovation and collaboration, and challenge us all to take risks as we build new ministries and work for racial equity. Funds raised will be used to make a three-year commitment to the administrative position.
INVESTMENT NEEDED: $250,000
MISSIONAL TITHE FOR INNOVATION & COLLABORATION
To embed innovation and collaboration into the life of the synod, we will refocus the work of the Assistant for Evangelical Mission on coordinating and empowering this work. Other administrative and grant responsibilities of that current position will shift to a new role of an Administrative Assistant for Innovation and Collaboration. These two positions will work together to expand coaching and training events to develop gifts of leaders across the synod, convene gatherings to develop and foster innovation and collaboration, and challenge us all to takBecause we hope to spur innovation across the Church, we will provide a gift of 5% ($50,000) to the ELCA Holy Innovations fund. In our commitment to strengthen the work of our church partners beyond the reach of our own synod, we will provide a gift of 5% ($50,000) to support the collaborative work between congregations and the Refugee Resettlement Program of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.