Churches have always played an important role in their local communities, providing hope and healing to those around them. But for some small churches, the majority of their budget goes towards keeping the doors open every Sunday. That is why Texas Baptists Bivocational Ministry and Church Architecture teamed up to create grants for small churches eager to reach their communities for Christ.
Ira Antoine, director of Bivocational Ministry, explained that the collaboration between Bivocational Ministry and Church Architecture began three years ago. Antoine heard many stories from churches explaining outreach that they wanted to start but did not have the facilities to host. At the same time, Keith Crouch, director of Church Architecture, was helping churches build new facilities or improve existing buildings but saw that some churches had little funds leftover for ministry. They had to choose between necessary repairs, such as complying with a new electrical code, or funding outreach in their communities. So, the two teams joined together to see how they could help churches meet all of their needs.
Funded by gifts to the WMU of Texas’ Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, the Small Church Impact Grants are a two-fold approach that provides matching funding assistance for missional projects and provides leadership training, as well as consultation expertise and strategic organization to make the most of the funding resources. They also provide matching grants for construction designed to help the church better minister to those around them.
Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Mathis was one of the many churches helped by this grant. The church had the desire to reach out to single mothers in their small rural community. Many of these single mothers live at or below the poverty level and have very few resources available to help them. With the funds from the grant, Mt. Pisgah was able to hold a women’s conference that offered spiritual renewal, as well as physical needs.
Antoine explained that the church rented out a dance hall because many of the women did not feel comfortable going to a church building. Mt. Pisgah strove to meet the women where they were
The grant’s support of construction projects helped Iglesia Bautista Doverside in Houston. The church had an average worship attendance of 80 people and was led by a bivocational pastor. The Small Church Impact Grant helped Iglesia Bautista with the cost of upgrading the electrical in their church building. Upgrades had to be made to meet city codes and to keep insurance coverage for the church. Now the church, which has a large fellowship hall, is able to safely host events in their building. comfortable, going out to them instead of asking them to come to the church. The women were fed brunch, given free medical check-ups and taught life skills such as money management.
Adapting to needs
This year, the grant has adapted to meet the changing needs of its recipients in light of COVID-19.
“The grants are there to help churches to develop ways and to aid them in impacting their communities for Christ. So we’re asking churches what they’re going to do in light of COVID,” Antoine explained. “How will the churches and members change and be salt and light in the midst of the COVID crisis?”
Antoine and Crouch agree that the Small Impact Church Grants would not be possible without the Mary Hill Davis Offering®. When churches give to the offering, they support efforts like these grants, so that small churches can continue to have a big impact on their communities.
“Their gifts allow churches to reach people for Christ and to be salt and light and to walk alongside other people,” Antoine said. “A gift of $20 could help sponsor a lady for a luncheon and a wellness check. $30 could help a church provide meals for a family that comes for a revival. All that I just shared could not be done without the Mary Hill Davis Offering®.”
The Mary Hill Davis Offering® supports missions and ministries across Texas. For more information, go to iamtexasmissions.org.