In the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, we challenge ourselves and the world to love like Jesus as we worship joyfully, serve compassionately, and grow spiritually. In taking up that challenge, more and more of us are finding ourselves called to new things. We call these new things ministry innovations.
An undertaking of a new ministry enterprise
— for the express purpose of engaging with people and communities in order to equip, serve, and heal the world
— among people not presently members of any parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
— by members of the Diocese of Atlanta – convocation(s), parish(es), or other worshipping community, or individuals
— in partnership with others both inside and outside the diocese who say it with cash and in-kind contributions
— introducing concepts and practices that are new to a community, new to the diocese, or some combination thereof, and
— with the potential to become financially sustainable (i.e., self-supporting) within three years if seeking a grant from the Innovations in Ministry Fund.
So, a ministry innovation can be new work in a familiar place or new or familiar work in a new-to-us place. And it is work that some folks agree together needs to be done and that they are willing to do. It’s also work that requires Episcopalians to serve alongside non-Episcopalian neighbors for the common good.
A ministry innovation is not an idea—even a good idea—that Episcopalians have dreamed up to deliver to their community without consulting with the community. It’s service alongside community members and ministry partners, not “charity” and not “help.” It should have the potential for mutual transformation and growth—of all involved.
It doesn’t have to reach huge numbers of people, but it does need to connect us to people who are not currently served by any ministry connected to the Diocese of Atlanta. It isn’t a liturgical offering (such as a worship service) unless it’s a liturgical offering connecting us to new-to-us people. It’s a well-designed experiment in ministry that has built-in ways of measuring how we will know if the experiment is successful.
Is God calling you to a new thing in one of the 28 counties in the diocese’s geographic area where we have no consistent Episcopal presence or witness and are conspicuous by our absence?
Is the Holy Spirit whispering to you an idea about something new in the context where you currently live and serve?
Do you feel a holy nudge toward a global endeavor?
What’s your idea for getting the church outside our buildings?
Grants supporting Ministry Innovations are awarded from the Innovations in Ministry Fund created in 2012. Thanks to generous parishes around the Diocese who contribute above their 10% Fair Share assessment, seed money in the form of grants is available to offset some of the costs of getting ministry innovations up and running.
The Ministry Innovations Task Force (MITF), composed of six clergy and lay people from the Diocese of Atlanta, reviews proposals and allocates funds through a grant process to encourage and develop a culture of ministry experimentation and innovation in fidelity with the teachings of Jesus and our baptismal promises.
Grant application deadlines are January 1, May 1, and September 1.
Read about Currently Funded Innovations
Learn how to apply for an Innovations in Ministry Grant
Step One: Share the Idea
Step Two: Apply for a Grant
The Reverend Donna S. Mote, PhD is Missioner for Engagement and Innovation in the Diocese of Atlanta. She is available to answer questions concerning criteria, feasibility, and grant funding. Donna is also available to meet in person or virtually with individuals, proposal teams, special project teams, vestries, outreach committees, community stakeholders, and others to assist in community needs assessments and ministry innovations development.
In addition, she travels the diocese as guest preacher and forum leader as she partners with Bishop Wright and the people of the diocese to coach, consult, collaborate, provoke, and promote innovations in ministry. Contact her at email@example.com.