New Church Development

Jesus told his followers to go and make disciples of all the earth, and United Methodists in the Great Plains Conference have accepted that challenge.

The Rev. Jeff Clinger is coordinator of new church development for the Great Plains. Clinger works in recruitment and training of new-church start pastors, parent congregations and in identifying and prioritizing locations for new-church starts throughout the Great Plains Conference.

Rev. Jeff Clinger
1207 SW Executive Dr.
Topeka, KS 66615


NCD Ministry Innovation Grants

Ministry Innovation Grants are due on April 1 and October 1 for funding to begin July 1 and January 1. You will hear back within 60 days of submitting your application.

In Matthew 28 we find the story of Jesus preparing to turn his mission over to his followers. As he offers words of challenge and encouragement, he says that they (we) are to go… make disciples… and remember that he is with us always.

As we now live further into post-COVID, and post-disaffiliation, realities, dreaming about the type of church God is seeking to build for 2050 (and beyond), we are increasingly aware that what is required to develop new and renewed communities of faith is quite different than what was required in generations past.

Whether a planter is launching an entirely new faith community, or an existing congregation is deciding to do something new to reach new people, ministry requires innovation.

To support this important work of reaching new people through innovative ministry in Kansas and Nebraska, New Church Development, Inc. of the Great Plains Conference offers Ministry Innovation Grants that range from as little as $500 to experiment with a Fresh Expression, to $300,000 for launching a new faith community.

General funds available by category and the type of project that might be considered in the various categories are as follows. *

  1. Fresh Expressions Mini-Grants – $500
    • ​​A fresh expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of those who are not yet part of any church. You can learn more about the model of fresh expressions here at
  2. Recovery Ministry – up to $5,000
    • A group of any size that meets regularly in-person or virtually and takes a Christ-centered approach to reach new people and help them recover from hurts, habits, or hang-ups. These ministries could include Celebrate Recovery, Divorce Care, Grief Share, or another Christian support group. Churches may also partner with recovery groups they host, such as AA, Al-Anon, Gam-Anon, CHADD, etc., by offering radical hospitality, building relationships with group leaders, praying for requests made anonymously, and/or making available a designated chaplain.
  3. Missional Community – up to $10,000
    • A group of people that meets regularly in-person or virtually outside the four walls of the church and are united around a mission that allows them to serve and witness to a particular mission field, e.g., neighborhood, region, or network of relationships. The participants of a missional community find their primary identity of “church” within the missional community, rather than an established church or small group and are committed to live out certain gospel identities and rhythms. Missional communities can take place in bowling alleys, fitness centers, restaurants, VFW halls, homes, workplaces, online, or anywhere they can share the love of Christ.
  4. New Worship Service – up to $25,000
    • A group of 15 or more people that meet at least once a month in-person or virtually to experience praise, joy, mourning, and celebration in a fresh new way with the purpose of reaching people not currently involved in a worshiping community.
  5. Multi-site – up to $175,000 (over three-five years)
    • A new location of an existing congregation designed to reach new people by gathering in-person or virtually.
  6. New Faith Community – up to $300,000 (over three-five years)
    • An entirely new faith community intended to reach new people in a new place.

To apply for a Fresh Expressions mini-grant, please apply at

To apply for grants at any level, please apply at

Persons and churches interested in launching an additional site or an entirely new faith community are especially encouraged to be in conversation their District Superintendent and with Rev. Jeff Clinger, director of congregational excellence, as they begin brainstorming, dreaming, and planning for their proposal.

When designing your project, especially for grants of $25,000 or more, please give special attention to…

  • What financial investment will the planting church or planter make to the overall project?
  • What is the plan for financial self-sustainability at the end of the grant period?

All grants are awarded with the understanding that if you do not launch the initiative as envisioned, unused funds will be returned to NCD.

People/churches receiving grants for Fresh Expressions, Small Groups, Recovery Ministries, Missional Communities, and New Worship Services will be asked to submit a report at 12 months following the launch of the ministry.

People/churches receiving grants for additional sites, or entirely new faith communities, will be asked to submit (quarterly or every six months?) benchmark forms to evaluate the ongoing funding.

*Many thanks to the Missouri Annual Conference, whose New Places for New People grants provided the framework for these categories.