Fortress Press

Funding Forward: A Pathway to More Sustainable Models for Ministry

Funding Forward

A Pathway to More Sustainable Models for Ministry

Grace Duddy Pomroy (Author)


Available September 17, 2024

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Many congregations across the country are coming to two seemingly unrelated realizations. First, the "Sunday morning offering" may not be enough to sustain their mission. Second, their ministry has been so internally focused that they are almost entirely disconnected from the community they are called to serve. Funding Forward provides a path to help a congregation discern God's mission, reconnect with the neighborhood, and find a new, more economically sustainable model for ministry. Drawing on years of teaching, research, and field work, Pomroy shows there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for church and nonprofit finances. There is no single model that will work for every ministry. Each economic model has a distinct shape because each ministry has a distinct mission and community. However, common tools span these ministry models: repurposing church property, social enterprise, impact investing, grants, multi-vocational ministry, and more.

While the tools and models can spark creativity, congregational leaders often wonder what process they might use to discern God's mission, which tools will work best in their context, and how they might get other congregational leaders on board. Discernment and execution are much more challenging than the ideation process. Funding Forward can help ministers and ministries move through the funding forward process from start to finish--paying special attention to the leadership challenges and pitfalls they might encounter along the way.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506493336
  • eBook ISBN 9781506493343
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 240
  • Publication Date September 17, 2024


As religious participation shifts in the United States, the economic model for churches is changing rapidly and significantly. In this moment of massive change and incredible opportunity, Grace Pomroy provides both inspiration and practical guidance for churches and denominations. Her research and insights are both appropriately realistic and deeply hopeful. This book is an essential read for church leaders who are finding their way forward.

Mark Elsdon, editor of Gone for Good? Negotiating the Coming Wave of Church Property Transition, and author of We Aren't Broke: Uncovering Hidden Resources for Mission and Ministry

It is refreshing to see a book that operates from an abundance mentality. Grace Duddy Pomroy's Funding Forward inspires readers to reimagine how God is calling them to be innovative stewards of resources that go beyond traditional congregation functions.

Rev. Martin Otto-Zimmann, PhD, senior director of Kindling Faith Ministry, United Lutheran Seminary

Facing the narrative of declining attendance, aging congregations, and budget shortfalls, in Funding Forward Grace Pomroy offers a transformative roadmap for congregations seeking to align with God's mission, revitalize community connections, and achieve sustainable ministry practices. This insightful guide navigates readers through the funding-forward process, equipping them with practical tools and strategies to discern their purpose, engage with their neighborhood, and embrace economic sustainability. With keen attention to leadership challenges and potential pitfalls, this book empowers ministries to embark on a journey of renewal and growth. A must-read for any congregation ready to embark on a path of purposeful transformation.

Dave Harder, principal consultant, Trinity Centres Foundation, Montreal

Dire predictions for the future of congregations abound. Grace Pomroy describes a different, more hopeful pathway forward--one that grows from the congregation's mission, builds on its strengths, and serves its community. This is a book that provides pastors and lay leaders in every context with practical suggestions for faithfully and creatively funding the congregation into the future.

Pastor Charles Lane, author of Ask, Thank, Tell and Reflections on Faith and Finances

The pandemic brought questions of alternative funding models and unused assets to the front of many clergy's minds. Funding Forward comprehensively addresses such issues and offers research, models, and examples of churches who have embraced both what God is calling them to do and innovative ways to fund that mission. While this isn't a path for all churches, every leadership team should read this book and consider this challenge of creating a sustainable model for ministry.

Scott Thumma, director, Hartford Institute for Religion Research

Congregations are in uncharted waters right now, and their clergy have not been equipped to navigate them. Grace Pomeroy doesn't provide a life preserver, but more of a map for faith communities facing the challenges of dwindling numbers of people and dollars. She reframes the narrative from one of decline to one brimming with possibility and hope, and not through magical thinking. Rather, the myriad stories presented here are drawn from Pomeroy's research in real congregations who are creatively developing mission strategies that are contextual, faithful, and effective. Readers will find case studies with which they identify and action plans that resonate with their own situations. In surveying the assets in community and congregation to reimagine their future, church leaders can certainly count this book as an asset in that journey.

Katie Day, Charles A. Schieren Professor Emerita of Church and Society, United Lutheran Seminary, Philadelphia

Finally! A book with practical applications that those of us out in the field can use to share our church space with the community we are grounded in! Grace Pomroy has given us a dynamic, thorough resource to use when we, as leaders in rural areas, are dreaming big and developing community engagement opportunities. By giving examples of how ministry can be community-minded and forward-moving, Pomroy has opened my eyes, and the eyes of congregations, to new and inventive ways to be church in the world. This book is a must-read for all congregations looking at the future and wanting to be creative with their current and future funding.

Melissa Pickering, pastor, First Lutheran Church, Audubon, Minnesota

Funding Forward invites leaders to reflect on the ways money follows mission with such an approachable and grace-filled approach. From the wisdom that comes from both her research and years of practical experience, Pomroy offers congregations an on-ramp to discerning their future. Pomroy does not prescribe a one-size-fits-all plan, but readers will gain the tools to take first steps and the encouragement to continue on the journey.

David P. King, Karen Lake Buttrey Director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

The North American church faces critical decisions about how it will engage in mission in light of an uncertain economic future and increasingly precarious financial model. Funding Forward provides the church with a blueprint to ask critically important questions about mission and purpose that anchor church leaders as they seek to remain faithful to their calling. The straightforward process, practical tools, and vivid examples that Pomroy offers spur the reader's imagination and lay a foundation for the church to direct its attention toward a future filled with hope.

 Rev. Thad Austin, executive director, Common Table Collaborative; vice president, EveryAge Foundation; and author of Congregational Social Entrepreneurship: A Field Guide for Lay and Clergy Leaders