More funds still needed for church plant support
By Myra Holmes
Individuals and congregations gave a total of $22,350 to support USMB church plants on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29. All funds given to Mission USA during this one-day campaign will go toward the 11 new and existing MB church plants in the US that will receive subsidy from Mission USA in 2017.
“These funds will be used to assist church plants in 2017 as they reach people with the good news,” says Don Morris, USMB national director. “That’s worth celebrating!”
Subsidy critical for survival and success
These funds are critical to church planting success, Morris adds. “If it were not for subsidies from Mission USA, districts and other supporting churches, church plants would have a very, very difficult time even surviving,” he says. “With these subsidies, church plants have the freedom to build their ministries, add space, hire part-time workers and do more things that allow them to reach more people and have an impact in their neighborhoods.”
By way of example, he points to Avenue Church, Aurora, Colo., the latest USMB church plant. Avenue Church expects to formally launch in February 2017 and is supported by Mission USA, the Southern District Conference (SDC) and mother church Ethiopian Evangelical Church of Denver in Aurora. “Without those funds, there is simply not enough money to start,” Morris says.
Mission USA typically provides subsidy for church plants for the first three years. “So for the next three years as this new church begins, they will have the capacity to build giving within the church, to grow in numbers and to become self-sustaining,” Morris says. “Subsidies for church plants are not just a good thing; they are vital.”
More options, misconceptions, web frustrations hinder giving
The 2016 total for USMB’s Giving Tuesday campaign is significantly lower than past years. Donations on Giving Tuesday totaled $54,799 in 2014 and $39,655 in 2015. Morris speculates that as the Giving Tuesday movement grows and more organizations—including Mennonite Brethren agencies—ask for funds on that day, donors must choose between more good causes to support.
Giving Tuesday is a global movement of generosity that began in 2012 and has grown to include over 40,000 organizations in 71 countries. In 2015, an estimated 700,000 donors raised more than $116 million, fueled primarily through social media.
In addition, Morris says some people mistakenly believe that changes in USMB church planting strategy mean that Mission USA no longer needs funding as it did in the past. “That is not the case,” he says. “Mission USA will be funding church plants for some time, and the need is still just as present as it has been.”
Some donors experienced frustration with the online donation process, receiving errors from PayPal as they tried to give through the USMB website. USMB webmaster Lori Taylor attributes the problems to a high volume of donations on PayPal because of Giving Tuesday, although the issue was never confirmed by PayPal. Morris says USMB will use a different donation platform in the future.
“Even though the overall amount was less than hoped for, it was still significant and will help immensely,” Morris says. “A huge thank you to all who gave on Giving Tuesday.”
Funds still needed for 2016
Morris says more funding for church planting is needed: “By the end of 2016, another $60,000 is needed, even after Giving Tuesday.” He emphasizes that these funds help start and support Mennonite Brethren church plants. “It’s not for administrative costs. It’s for mission,” says Morris.
Donations can be made through the USMB website, by contacting the USMB offices at 7348 W. 21st, Suite 115, Wichita, KS 67205 or by calling 800-257-0515.
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