Congregation Social Service Outreach Ministry

How to Apply for a Congregation Mini Grant



Lutheran Foundation recognizes that each congregation is at a different place when it comes to their social service outreach ministries.  Some congregations want to “test drive” an idea before developing a full project/effort.  For this reason, the Foundation created the Congregation Mini Grants program.   The purpose is two-fold:

  • to provide funding to congregations to pilot an idea for a new social service outreach ministry, and
  • to provide free coaching support in further refining and implementing an idea.


Any Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregation in the St. Louis area can apply for a Congregation Mini Grant. The geographic area supported by the Foundation is identified in our Core Values.

Congregation Mini Grants are available for up to $5,000; a church can only have one active Congregation Mini Grant at a time. 

Mini Grant recipients are eligible to receive free coaching and guidance from Send Me St. Louis on the following:

  • a project's activities and services,
  • project outcomes,
  • an evaluation tool(s), and/or
  • stronger volunteer management systems.

Funding Parameters

  • The Foundation will grant up to 12 total Mini Grants in a twelve month period. 
  • Congregation Mini Grants are designed to help congregations pilot new social service outreach ministry projects.  Mini Grants are not to be used to expand existing activities.
  • Congregations have up to 12 months after the receipt of grant funds to implement the project. 
  • Toward the end of the Mini Grant period, the congregation can evaluate their interest in continuing the project.  If the congregation chooses to continue the project and can justify a need for additional funding, a Regular Grant Application can be submitted to the Foundation.  A Regular Grant Application may be submitted before the Mini Grant has ended so that the project’s momentum is not interrupted.
  • In general, requests for capital improvements will not be considered.
  • Congregations must have an idea of the project or issue around which they wish to develop a social service outreach ministry.
  • Creativity in developing proposals for novel or experimental approaches to social service outreach ministry is encouraged, even if this means the prospects for a “successful” program are less certain.
  • At least 50 percent of program participants/service recipients should be non-members of the congregation.
  • Preference will be given to efforts that serve people in underserved communities.

Examples of Possible Ministry Projects

  • English as a second language
  • Citizenship classes
  • After-school mentoring/tutoring
  • Job training for ex-offenders
  • Food pantry/clothing closet
  • Health fairs
  • Fitness/healthy living programs
  • Health screenings
  • Substance abuse services
  • Services for pregnant and teen moms
  • Meals on wheels
  • Adult mentoring
  • Outreach to the homeless (food, shelter, clothing
  • Recreation activities for underserved youth
  • Social activities for seniors
  • Exercise programs for seniors
  • Community computer room/classes
  • Community revitalization

Examples of Ineligible Funding Requests

  • Vacation Bible School
  • Sunday school activities
  • Confirmation classes
  • Youth groups
  • Bible studies, unless it is a component of a larger outreach effort
  • Playgrounds
  • Homebound visits for Word and Sacrament
  • Evangelism programs
  • Capital repairs/church renovations
  • Vans
  • School ministries


In general, Lutheran Foundation does not provide funds to purchase food for a food pantry or assist in paying for clients' housing or utility bills.  Further, the Foundation typically does not fund the purchase of building supplies/equipment, unless supplies/equipment are needed to help launch/carry out the program.

Idea Exploration

Congregations should know what they want to do and have an idea of how to get started.  If you are not at this point, coaching services to assist your congregation are offered through Lutheran Foundation’s relationship with Send Me St. Louis.  Services include coaching and guidance on:

  • mapping the congregation’s and community’s assets,
  • researching opportunities for social service outreach ministry, and/or
  • planning for a social service outreach ministry.

Application Process
All interested congregations or organizations must submit a Congregation Mini Grant application. Funding decisions for Mini Grants are generally made within two weeks after receipt of an application.  CLICK HERE to download an application.


There are no grant deadlines for the Congregation Mini Grants. Application can be made at any time of the year.