Grant Funding for the Next Generation of Gospel Workers
Nearly £1.8 million from the FIEC Training Fund has been used to support churches and trainees. How has the money been used? How can you be involved in future grants?
One of the great joys of the past few years has been passing on funds generously donated to the Training Fund.
Since the Fund started in 2012, we have passed on almost £1.8 million. £500,000 of this has gone directly to individuals attending training courses, but the bulk has gone to churches supporting training positions, often with part-time courses built into their programmes.
This means we’ve been able to get behind 78 individuals and, separately, 75 different churches - some have received funding more than once. It’s not a case of simply supporting larger places either: of the grants so far, 75 have gone to smaller or small/medium churches.
Lots of our churches, of course, were heavily invested in training already and it would be wrong to suggest that the Fund has single-handedly galvanised our family of churches into action.
Yet it would be also wrong to underplay the impact the Fund has had in supporting both churches and individuals who want to make a step-change in their training commitment.
On the whole, we don’t give money directly to colleges. Rather, they benefit from having students from our churches whose costs are partly covered by the Fund. We do, however, keep a track of which places students are attending and over the life of the Fund this means we’ve indirectly supported 25 different training institutions; mostly, though not all, in the UK.
We have made a significant effort not to discriminate in how the funds are distributed, but inevitably we can only get behind places that apply. So it’s interesting for us to see where the money has gone geographically.
In broad terms, it follows where FIEC churches are located. It is encouraging that it’s not any more skewed than the actual distribution of our churches and in some cases (notably churches in the north) there is relative over-investment compared to numbers of churches.
For those interested the actual data of fund distribution is 27% North, 22% Midlands, 22% South East, 9% Wales, 8% East Anglia, 7% South West and 6% Scotland.
Perhaps most significantly as we survey the map and social makeup of both the country and the UK church, 60% of grants have gone to places in the lower half of the UK deprivation index.
Stories Behind the Data
Two words of caution about these data.
First, they’re a bit rough and ready: we don’t spend days analysing all the data, but in broad terms, they are about right.
Second, and more importantly, statistics themselves are meaningless without context. As everyone knows they can be manipulated and twisted if the writer so desires. Nevertheless, they do tell a broad story.
What is most important is that behind every piece of data is a personal story of those who have been helped into ministry. God has been extraordinarily good to us as a family of churches and it is right to acknowledge both his graciousness to us and the generosity he has stirred up in others.
For this money has come from a few individuals and churches who have seen it as part of their mission giving to support the training of others. What grace God has shown to them, and in turn, therefore, shown to us. Most wish to remain anonymous, but please be assured we thank them on your behalf.
Accessing and Supporting the Training Fund
This a good moment to say that our next round of applications will be considered in May. The deadline to apply is Tuesday 31st March. You can find out more and apply on our Training page.
As things stand at the moment, we’ve not got much to distribute. In fact, we’ll only be able to support one or two people at most.
So, if you’re so inclined, why not rejoice with us in what God has done so far and consider whether he might be prompting you to stand with us in replenishing the fund once more. You can do so by selecting the Training Fund appeal when you donate online.