One of my favorite parts of working with the Student Leadership Network is getting to tell people about our Champion Grant. Churches across our province share in our vision of generations of students formed in Christ awakening churches, communities, and cultures. These churches bring so much creativity and dedication to the work they do, but they don’t always have the financial resources needed to see new projects come to life.

I recently sat down with a rector of a church in Boston, Massachusetts to talk about building a new student ministry in their church. As we shared ideas, he seemed hesitant at first until he said that there just isn’t any budget money that can go to this right now. As I told him about the champion grant, I noticed his eyes light up because there would be one less barrier to building a new student ministry. The conversation changed from what can we do with little resources to how can we dream about something entirely new? Even before applying for a grant, the possibility of additional financial support allowed this church to dream bigger about what student ministry could look like in their congregation.

In Holland, Michigan, a church plant was thinking about how to expand its ministry to young people while intentionally supporting parents and families. Their idea was to create two cohorts, one of fathers and sons and one of mothers and daughters, in order to foster relationships and let families have intentional conversations about faith. As Amy Wolthius began planning, she tried to keep everything to a tight budget and to only include what would be absolutely necessary. In applying for this grant, at first, the scarcity mindset was still prevalent. Amy told me, “My husband encouraged me to dream a little more during the planning. Applying for the Champion Grant extended the vision of this project.” The Champion Grant allowed this church to expand their plans for this cohort to include a retreat and service projects.

The Champion Grant exists to come alongside student ministry champions with financial support for their ministry ideas. How might you be able to expand your ministry ideas? In what ways is God calling you to dream about new ministry to students in your church or community?

Anna Burden

Anna Burden

Coordinator for Student Leadership Network

Anna Burden grew up in the church and has felt called to student ministry since she was in seventh grade. She studied Youth Ministry at Eastern University and has experience working with churches and student ministries of various sizes. Anna and her husband, Colin, now live in Quincy, MA with their two cats. She works for the Anglican Diocese in New England as their Family Ministry Assistant. Anna is passionate about helping young people discover their identity
in Christ, their belonging in the family of God, and their gifts for Kingdom purposes.

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