Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Summer’s hottest topic: innovative ministry



Summer daze at your church? Banish that. Now is the time for action.

There are good reasons to do so — 700,000 good reasons.

Deadline is noon on Sept. 15 to apply for New People, New Places grants.

A total of $700,000 has been designated in 2015 as seed money for innovative projects to reach new people for Christ.

Any church of any size and any Conference entity may apply for a grant through NPNP, which is a new Conference initiative. Requested funding is not limited by a maximum or minimum dollar amount.

A grant could help your group launch a ministry that currently exists only in dreams. Your vision could attract more Oklahomans and help them grow as world-changing disciples.

But first you must craft a plan from your idea.

And you must submit a grant application for that plan — online and on time.

This opportunity should be summer’s hottest topic for your group.

The deadline looms.

"Think about it. If you had an extra $20,000 to fund a new, diverse ministry, to reach people you’ve never reached before, what would you do?" asked Donna Heldermon. She is a Claremore-First member and co-chairs the Annual Conference Council (ACC).

She’s clearly excited about New People, New Places.

"It really validates that we see making disciples, reaching new people, is best done at the local level," she said. "That’s how we build the Church: at the grassroots. If people are involved in ministry, they grow."

NPNP will grow disciples in ways that rival Oklahoma’s Volunteers In Mission, "a great example," Heldermon believes.

Craig Stinson said he frequently hears creative ideas from people about ministries he’s never imagined.

As director of Connectional Ministries, Rev. Stinson hopes "to have my hands full of applications to read from any-size church or ministry in any place" within the Oklahoma Conference.

He called special attention to the Sept. 15 deadline. It replaces a previously announced date in June.

Some modifications were made in the application process as a result of Annual Conference floor discussion about the overall NPNP timeline, he said.

You also are urged to submit your request by Sept. 1. All applications received by that first day of September will be checked and, if incomplete, the applicant will be notified in time to correct and submit a refined request by Sept. 15.

Stinson’s office receives each digital grant application. Within the ACC membership, a designated NPNP team reviews the requests and holds interviews with selected applicants. The team’s recommendations go to the full ACC. Projects affirmed by ACC advance to the Council on Finance & Administration and, if endorsed by that group, are voted on at Annual Conference.

Stinson said NPNP funds will become available on June 1, 2015.

New People, New Places is a new Conference Apportionment, approved as part of the 2015 budget by delegates in late May.

Questions and Answers

Q. Who can apply for a grant?

A. Any church of any size, located anywhere within the Oklahoma Conference, or any Conference ministry may apply.

Q. What projects are likely to be approved?

A. Projects that show a specific plan for reaching new, younger, and/or more diverse people and helping them become world-changing disciples of Jesus Christ

Q. What will an applicant need to show?

A. Be specific about which new people you are planning to reach.

Show specifically how these new people will become disciples of Jesus Christ.

Show a large percentage of the church or entity is vested in the project.

Show how this project will be financially sustainable after a maximum of three years without ongoing need of NPNP funds.

Q. What sorts of projects are likely not to be approved?

A. Projects that are not specific, that cannot show a specific plan for disciple-making, or that primarily strengthen existing members

Q. Is there a maximum amount we can request?

A. No. If approved, your project may receive all or part of the requested amount.

Every recipient will provide a timely financial audit to the Conference, plus an annual accounting of how the funds were spent.

Q. Can we apply for more than one year’s funding?

A. Money will be granted for one year. You will need to indicate if you want funding beyond one year. NPNP grants may be awarded to a project for three years at maximum.

Q. How will you know we are reaching the outcome we projected?

A. A team will visit your site during 2016. Also, your church or ministry will provide an annual report, showing specific progress toward the goals you presented.

Return to contact digest

Application deadline: Sept. 15

Annual Conference delegates vote on an amendment May 29.
Photo by Michelle Pitt


Now – Sept. 15 – Submit your group's grant application online.

(Submissions by Sept. 1 will be checked for completeness and thus can be modified before the final deadline.)

Sept. 18 – Letters go out to all applicants. Those invited to follow-up interviews will be directed to a website to select preferred day and time. Those not chosen for interviews also will be notified. The NPNP Team will assign a person to help you learn how to strengthen your next application.

Oct. 14 and Nov. 18 – Face-to-face interviews take place. One or two laity and one clergyperson will be interviewed. Questions are provided in advance. The interview will last about 30 minutes.

Feb. 21, 2015 – Annual Conference Council acts on grant recommendations from NPNP Team.

Feb. 23 – Letters go out to approved applicants. Approval does not become official until affirmed by vote of the 2015 Annual Conference. However, those groups affirmed by the ACC will be notified of the amount for the expected grant.

March – Council on Finance & Administration acts on NPNP recommendations from ACC.

Late May – Annual Conference delegates act on CFA recommendations. The NPNP Team hopes to share your vision and story at the 2015 conference, to encourage others to apply for 2016 funding.

June 1 – NPNP funds become available for grant winners.


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