A local church has received a boost to its ministry efforts.
Ashland United Methodist Church, 2711 Ashland Ave., received a $2,500 grant last week from the Missouri United Methodist Foundation, an organization that already has funded $10,000 of the church’s various ministry areas.
The United Methodist Foundation is funded primarily through the state, donations, trust funds and endowments, and about 10 years ago, the Missouri organization opened up applications for ministry grants. For the past four years, Shaun Agnew, Ashland’s director of worship arts and web ministries, has utilized these grants for new cameras, live-streaming technology and advanced lighting in the church’s space.
“We’ve been really successful. We’ve gotten grant funds every single time we’ve applied for one,” Agnew said. “Typically these days, one would assume there’s not enough money to go around for everybody that typically might want to apply for grants, although when the presenter came this past week, he said there’s only been a small fraction of churches applying for grants, which is kind of funny because it’s essentially free money to do ministry.”
The latest grant of $2,500 will be used to purchase a new soundboard as well as in-ear monitors to support the church’s more booming contemporary-music services.
Agnew explained he utilizes some of his more well-written church-goers to help with the grant-writing process.
“For me, it’s really been a way for us to boost our technology and elements of how we do worship,” he explained. “Of course technology can be expensive, and so rather than just going to people in the church who make those decisions and say, ‘Hey, how about we fund this $10,000 project?’, I felt it would be good stewardship for me to help find those funds outside of the church.”
Agnew said the foundation is especially helpful for smaller, rural churches to help get them off on the right footing. And while it doesn’t fund general budgets, the money offered can be used for a whole host of upgrades.
“I think it’s wonderful that we’re so interconnected,” Agnew said. “At the United Methodist Church, it’s just a wonderful piece that they have — this endowment organization can help fund these projects.”