The Lord says, "Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now!"
Now is the Time for New Church Development in the United Church of Christ. And, now is the time to secure and increase the funding for new churches through the New and Renewing Churches Endowment Fund. The public response to The Stillspeaking Initiative and the extravagant welcome of the United Church of Christ has shown that this is the time to be bold in new church development. New Churches make a large contribution to spreading the extravagant welcome of Jesus and the still speaking witness of the United Church of Christ. UCC Conferences and National Ministries affirm that the time is now to start 250 new churches by 2011 and 1600 new congregations by 2021. This increase will double and then triple the number of new congregations planted and welcomed in the United Church of Christ.
In order to increase new churches in the United Church of Christ, we will need to increase the resources and funding for more congregations. The purpose of the New Church Challenge Endowment Fund is to secure and increase future funding for new churches and new church leadership in the United Church of Christ. In order to double and triple the number of new congregations there must be the same increase in funding for new congregations and new church leadership development. Since 2000, Local Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ has funded 115 new congregations with $4,973,266. Unfortunately, even this amount of funding is not adequate for the current number of requests that Local Church Ministries receives from conferences and new congregations. Without a secure endowed source for funds, the money that is now available may even decline.
New Congregations make a difference in the life of the United Church of Christ. In the past 50 years, 1139 new congregations were founded and welcomed in the United Church of Christ. Today 440 of those congregations (7% of total UCC congregations), report 52,684 in worship; that is 15% of the total UCC average attendance. Today, 580 of those congregations contributed more than $5,376,500 to Our Churches Wider Mission. The current UCC congregation with the largest membership and giving to OCWM was a new church in 1962. New churches make a difference in the UCC. Just imagine what our present, and future, could be if within the past 50 years we had more than doubled the number of new churches. Now is the time to increase new congregations for our future mission of the United Church of Christ. Now is the time to secure and increase funding for new church development through the New and Renewing Churches Endowment Fund.
Please send donations or requests for a Commitment form to:
Rev. Craig Hoffman
Financial Development Ministry
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland OH 44115-1100
Checks should be made payable to United Church of Christ and indicate New and Renewing Churches Endowment Fund. For additional information on this project, you may telephone Rev. David Schoen, Evangelism Minister in UCC Local Church Ministries, at 216-736-3827.