One-day fundraising campaign benefits USMB church planting
By Connie Faber
Mission USA, the U.S. Mennonite Brethren church planting ministry, got a jump start on funding its 2016 church planting goals thanks to donors that supported the USMB Giving Tuesday campaign.
Just under $40,000 was raised Dec. 1, about $20,000 short of the goal set for the one-day fundraising campaign.
“Although we fell short of our goal, the funds that were donated will help immensely as we strive to accomplish what God has called us to do together in 2016,” says Don Morris, USMB interim executive director and Mission USA director. “These funds mean we can work immediately with prospective planters for projects.”
Morris says he has identified several possible future church planters. The next step will be for the planter and spouse to complete an assessment process to determine if the couple is gifted and ready for planting.
“I pray every single day for God to send out workers for the harvest,” says Morris. “We don’t do a lot of ‘beating the bushes’ for planters. Instead, we rely on God calling out gifted leaders and making them known to us.
“I do have two or three prospective planters that I am in contact with already, but I’d like to have more in the pipeline,” says Morris. “I also hope we can begin the process of planting at least four churches in 2016.”
Giving Tuesday donations totaled $39,655. Two USMB congregations—Memorial Road MB Church, Edmond, Okla., and Vinewood Community Church, Lodi, Calif.—contributed; both churches also made donations in 2014, the first year USMB participated in Giving Tuesday.
A total of 78 individuals donated an average of $275 on Giving Tuesday 2015. Twenty-four of the 78 donors were first-time Giving Tuesday contributors.
Six donor couples provided a total of $20,000 in matching funds. “That gave us a huge, huge boost,” says Morris.
“It’s always somewhat disappointing to not reach a goal,” says Morris, offering two possibilities for why giving fell short of the goal.
The Giving Tuesday movement, which began in 2012, is being used by a growing number of organization, says Morris, and so donors have more options for where to send their funds on this global day dedicated to giving back.
A second reason according to Morris is that it can be difficult for U.S. Mennonite Brethren to “think of church planting as a place to invest missions dollars.”
“Most people’s missions dollars go to international missions, even though our mission right across the street is just as important, in my opinion,” says Morris. “But we did have many supportive givers and we did raise significant funds that will be used directly for church planting. For those funds, we are very thankful.”
Morris is asking for additional donations for church planting before the end of 2015.
“Raising an additional $20,000 is an important goal for us and will allow us to have the needed funds going into 2016,” says Morris. So even though Giving Tuesday is over, people interested in supporting church planting can give by going to the donation tab of our website (usmb.org) or by sending a check to Mission USA.”