Congregational Development Grants

The Baltimore-Washington Conference Congregational Development Grants, offered through the Unified Funding Task Force (UFT), can assist congregations with grants for launching new ministry initiatives, new or renewed congregation development, leader development and reaching new people.

Before you apply

You should carefully review the procedures and process for applying as they have changed. All applications require the approval of the pastor-in-charge, the local church leadership and authorization and approval by the district superintendent.  

Once your application has been approved by the by the district superintendent it is submitted by the district superintendent to the next respective department/office (if required) for recommendation before final submission to the Unified Funding Task Force.

For Applicants:
Navigating the Grant Application Portal
Completing Tables Within the Grant Application
For Reviewers:
Completing and Managing Reviews in SMA
Verifying Your Email Address
For Recommenders:
Completing Recommendations DS Letter of Support


Emergency loan and grant requests are accepted year-round.
Non-urgent requests will be accepted in the spring and fall.

  • April 1: Spring applications due.  
  • October 1: Fall applications due. 



What is the process to apply for a grant from the Unified Funding Task Force?

Please follow the procedures and steps outlined in the online application. You may refer to the above videos for guidance. Deadlines for Fall grants are Oct. 1 and Spring grants are April 1. You should submit your application at least 10 days prior to the deadline to ensure they are properly received. 

Fall awards become effective January of the upcoming year. Spring awards become effective July of the current year unless otherwise noted in the funding award letter.

For more information regarding the procedures of the task force, contact the Congregational Development Coordinator, Lauren Harris, at 410-309-3490.

What Congregational Development Grants are available?

  • New Faith Expressions Grant - This grant is for the establishment of new congregations or for existing congregations who want to start a new campus/satellite location. This would include Strategic Relaunches and Vital Mergers
  • Strategic Growth Initiatives Grant - This grant is for existing churches/faith communities who want to accomplish one or more of the following:
    1. Create a ministry that reaches new people
    2. Create a ministry that develops new and existing leaders
    3. Create a ministry at that identifies, nurtures and trains the next generation of leaders
    4. Create a ministry that multiplies the congregation's impact beyond the walls of the Church
    5. Create a ministry that includes strategic partnerships with other Congregations (i.e.. Cooperative Parishes, Clusters, etc.)
  • Micro-Grant to Reach New PeopleThe Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church is committed to reaching New People in New Places through new faith expressions. These new people already live around our local churches and in our communities and we seek to reach them where they are, either in physical or digital places. To this end, we are offering a non-renewable grant for up to $5,000 for you to launch your new faith expression. 

    The Baltimore-Washington Conference defines a New Faith Expression as an innovative and contextual faith community that is in tune with our changing culture and is developed with those who are not yet a part of a church in mind. 

    A New Faith Expression must meet the following criteria: 

    1. They gather NEW people: This is not about bringing already churched people together in a new way. They should be designed to give unchurched and de-churched people a fresh experience of Christian community. 
    2. They meet regularly. It should be at least monthly, but preferably weekly. These are not one-time outreach events. The purpose is to foster relationships and create community, which requires people to be together on a regular basis. 
    3. They relate to a United Methodist entity, a campus ministry, a local church, a District, or the Conference. Most New Faith Expressions will break the mold of typical forms of church, but they are still a part of the Body of Christ. With that in mind, we want to create a supportive connection so that the institution can feed the NFE and not to funnel new members to the local church and feed the institution. 
    4. They form disciples using a variety of methods that are appropriate for the context. Disciple-making is at the core of our mission and will be at the core of what we start.

What are the principles of the Unified Funding Task Force?

  • The UFT awards grants must support the conference vision and mission.
  • Grant applications are reviewed and processed only after approval and recommendation of the district superintendent.
  • Awards are made based on available funding and based on the applicant’s ability to describe the ministry for which funding is being requested.
  • Each project/ministry will be reviewed twice a year and continued funding will be based on goals/objectives/benchmarks being met as identified in the scope of work and the details outlined in the grant application.

What leads to a “yes” decision?

  • Congregations that demonstrate funds requested are tied directly to their congregational goals and objectives that contain specific benchmarks and mark progress and clear measurable outcomes.
  • Congregations that plan to use funds as a leverage to increase resources and have a long-term plan and capacity for funding the ministry/program beyond the grant or loan.
  • Congregations that partner with other congregations, community groups or organizations to build ministry and to accomplish goals.
  • Congregations that have already applied for funding from other sources so that the conference serves as a secondary partner.
  • Congregations that submit requests that demonstrate vision, discernment, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
  • Congregations that have demonstrated connectionalism by attending the Annual Conference Session, trainings and events, working collaboratively with other congregations and completing conference requests accurately and on time.
  • Congregations that have faithfully paid apportionments and conference obligations.

What leads to a “no” decision?

  • Congregations that do not have Administrative/Church Council support.
  • Congregations that do not meet deadlines.
  • Congregations that cannot demonstrate the capacity for the ministry requested. Capacity includes personnel, space, time, need and congregational involvement.
  • Congregations that do not follow through on required benchmark reports including an annual audit, annual statistical report, pastor/church evaluation and required charge conference forms.

Who are the members of the Unified Funding Task Force?

  • Director of Innovative Evangelism
  • Coordinator of Congregational Development
  • Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministries
  • Dean of the Cabinet
  • Member of the Finance Team

How should a Congregation Development Grant be used?

God calls on God’s people to make disciples. Discipleship Ministries oversees and nurtures new faith expressions in creating new places for new people and assists in the renewal and revitalizing of faith communities. By being relevant and vital, United Methodists will touch more lives and draw more people to Christ. Our primary purpose is not to help churches grow, but rather we seek to help them reach more people with the good news of the Gospel, to grow more people as gifted and called disciples of Jesus, and to send more people into the world to love and serve God and their neighbors in all they do. We provide tools, resources, workshops, events and training to help leaders and congregations more effectively make disciples for the transformation of the world.

When should a church or pastor apply for an Equitable Compensation Support Grant?

Contact your District Administrator or District Superintendent

How should a Building Grant/Building Loan to be used?

Building Grants and Building Loans may be granted for churches and charges that need to do significant building renovations. Grants are generally given to churches to do renovations in order to develop a new ministry. Loans are generally given to churches for maintenance such as boiler replacement and roof repairs. Loans are only given if churches or charges can demonstrate the ability to repay the loan. Loan applications are approved by the Conference Board of Trustees. Building grants and loans are generally one-time awards.

» Apply for Building Grant/Building Loan Request