Mission is the result of God’s initiative, rooted in God’s purposes to restore and heal creation. “Mission” means “sending,” and sending is the central biblical theme describing God’s action in human history. Consequently, a missional church is shaped by participating in God’s mission: to set things right in a broken, sinful world; to redeem it; and to restore it to what God always intended for the world.
Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (TCBF) acknowledges the call of individuals and congregations to be God’s presence in the world. TCBF encourages and supports intentional efforts of congregations to become more mission-shaped. Through our annual state missions offering, Elizabeth Richards Missions Offering, we allocate funds for mission grants to assist TCBF-affiliated congregations in their efforts to participate in God’s mission in the world. These grants provide seed money to support purposeful mission engagement in the world.
What types of mission projects qualify for a TCBF mission grant? We honor the autonomy of local congregations to discern direction, so we are not prescriptive in our approach. However, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has prioritized eight mission initiatives focused on ministry to “the least of these.” We commend these initiatives because they are illustrative of the meaningful projects that will be funded through TCBF mission grants. Proposals falling outside these eight ministry areas will also be considered for mission grants.
- Poverty and Transformation Ministries — working with or initiating work to alleviate poverty in your community
- Disaster Response Ministries — responding to assist and minister to people who have been affected by natural disasters
- Internationals Ministries — ministering to refugees, immigrants, or students from other countries
- Church Starts & Faith Sharing Ministries — assist in initiating a new church, house church, or faith community
- Justice and Peacemaking Ministries — serve as advocates for religious freedom and social justice by ministering to those who are persecuted for their faith and/or work to address human trafficking, genocide, women’s rights, child labor and reconciliation
- Healthcare Ministries — seek to be the presence of Christ by offering spiritual and physical healing
- Economic Development Ministries — helping transform communities through economic development, environmental sustainability and micro-enterprise projects
- Education Ministries — work to initiate a project providing educational opportunities or assistance to students
Your congregation can apply for a mission grant up to $1,000. TCBF also encourages congregations to partner with other congregations to address human needs around the globe.
Each congregation discerns when, how and where to engage in God's mission. Through this grant application process, TCBF offers suggestions to assist, as needed, the discernment process among the leaders of your congregation.
- Prayerfully discern where God is calling you and/or your congregation to make a kingdom impact in your neighborhood or in the world (you might consider conversations with other congregations, helping agencies, denominational leaders or community leaders).
- Engage members of the congregation in conversation about needs being addressed by the mission project. Share information gleaned from conversations with other groups addressing this need (whether inside or outside the church).
- Apply for the TCBF Missional Grant (up to $1,000 per project each year) through the submission of the online application at the bottom of this page. The TCBF Coordinating Council determines grant recipients. When awarding grants, preference will be given to individuals and congregations affiliated with TCBF.
- Call the congregation to prayer for the mission project and all involved, especially those to whom you will minister. Coordinate the project with the church’s mission team or committee and pastoral staff. Keep the members of the congregation aware of the project from start to finish.
- Inform the congregation of the mission grant awarded by TCBF. Include in the announcement that the funding source the Elizabeth Richards Missions Offering, TCBF's state missions offering.
- Implement the mission project.
- Immediately following the mission project, assemble all participants for a time of reflection and sharing. What was discovered about needs within the community or where the project was located? What did the participants learn about themselves as a result of the project? In what ways did participants experience spiritual transformation?
- Write a report/reflection from the mission project and share it with the congregation and TCBF (if possible, include digital pictures or video taken during the project). Use all available avenues for telling stories about the experiences of participants and those served by the mission project.
- Engage the congregation in conversation about needs discovered through the mission project. Is God calling individuals within the congregation or the entire congregation to address these needs on an ongoing basis? Who in the community might the congregation partner with (other congregations, ministry organizations, agencies, civic groups) to address ongoing needs and systemic issues/structures contributing to them?
Before submitting your application, consider the following story as an example of a viable project.