The availability of matching funds through the Transform America Project has generated significant interest and a number of questions as to how to qualify for these funds. Below is a list of Frequently Ask Questions produced by the Church Multiplication Network who administers these funds.
1. Are Matching Funds a type of loan or grant?
Matching Funds are not considered a grant because the ongoing efforts of the Fund depend on the replenishment of the money awarded to you. Matching Funds are also not a loan. Your monthly financial replenishments have no interest attached and are based on the monthly income of your church. To qualify for Matching Funds, you commit to tithe 10 percent of your undesignated tithes and offerings each month. Fifty percent of that offering can be designated to the missionary or missions project of your choice. The remaining 50 percent is paid forward into the Church Multiplication Network (CMN) Matching Fund. The money you’ve paid forward will be used to invest in future church plants.
2. How do I know that my money won't be used for administrative costs?
You can be confident that 100 percent of the funds paid forward are invested in new churches in the United States.
3. If I receive Matching Funds, will I have to follow certain rules when planting my church?
The purpose of CMN is to equip, fund, and network church planters — not tell you how to do church ministry. However, if you are awarded Matching Funds, you will be asked to respond to a survey each month on the status of your church plant. Additionally, any other requirements for your church plant would come from your AG District and/or parent church.
4. We filed a New Church Opened form, but haven't launched yet. Are we still eligible for Matching Funds?
Possibly. In order to qualify for Matching Funds, we require that each church plant submit a New Church Opened form or Parent Affiliated Church (PAC) Charter form. A church is classified as open once their district has filed these forms with the General Secretary's office. Because the purpose of the Matching Funds are for the pre-launch phase of a church plant, you will not be eligible for funds if you've already had a public launch service. If you have a New Church Opened form on file and it is classified as open, this is not necessarily equivalent to a public launch. Because we do not fund churches after they launch, it is important to submit your application a minimum of 10 weeks prior to your launch.
5. Do I have to pay back the Matching Funds?
By receiving these funds, the planted church agrees to tithe ten percent (10%) to Assemblies of God missions from the undesignated income received by the new church every month. Fifty percent (50%) of these missions funds will be designated to the CMN Matching Fund pool until the Matching Fund amount is replenished. The remaining fifty percent (50%) may be disbursed as desired by the planted church. For example, if your income in January is $5,000, you are agreeing to give $250 toward the Matching Fund and $250 to AG missionaries and/or missions projects of your choice. If your income in January is $10,000, you are agreeing to give $500 toward the Matching Fund and $500 to AG missionaries and/or missions projects of your choice. Therefore, the amount you designate to the Matching Fund and AG missions is dependent upon the amount of undesignated income received by the church every month. This agreement will continue until the amount that you have replenished (a.k.a. paid forward) into the CMN Matching Fund is equal to the original investment that CMN awarded you. When this is complete, an additional commitment to give a minimum of one percent (1%) of all undesignated income every month to CMN applies. For details, see FAQ #6 and refer to the Planter Agreement on the Matching Fund Application.
6. After I finish replenishing the Matching Funds, what’s next?
When the Matching Fund amount is paid forward in full, the planted church agrees to continue to give a minimum of one percent (1%) of all undesignated income every month to CMN to support the planting of new churches through CMN resources. The one percent (1%) commitment will remain in effect in perpetuity or until the planted church has a granddaughter church, aka plants a church that plants a church.
7. Do I have to hold my ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God in order to apply for Matching Funds?
8. Do multi-site locations and/or satellite campuses qualify for Matching Funds?
Possibly. To qualify for Matching Funds, whoever is designated as the campus pastor for this venue must hold ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God. Additionally, the campus pastor must be different from the Primary Partner contact.
9. What is an Assessment?
An Assessment is the process of discerning whether a potential church planter is called to plant a church and whether the person is right for a specific new work. In order to qualify for Matching Funds, you will need to have an Assessment or a Primary Partner approved Assessment. We encourage you to begin by contacting your AG District office and speaking with the individual responsible for church planting within your district. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the offices at CMN.
10. What are you looking for in a Ministry Plan?
We would like for the following questions and topics to be addressed within your Ministry Plan:
Describe the community where you will plant and how it will impact the community.
Provide demographic studies and explain how they have informed your process and action steps.
Please give your team-building strategy (e.g. launch team, first-year team, initial hires, etc.).
How will people in the community discover the new church plant?
Describe your expected discipleship pathway with special focus on the intentional steps you will take to lead people to a confession of faith and Spirit baptism.
Describe how you have communicated your Ministry Plan to and learned from other ministry leaders already serving in the ministry context of where you are planting this church.
Give a detailed look at your financial plans and expectations.
Where are your funds coming from?
What is your strategy for raising funds (e.g. letters, events, starting a business, etc.)?
How will your funds be allocated/spent?
Provide a sample of any fundraising literature you might be using to build your financial support team.
How do you plan to introduce stewardship?
11. What is a CMN BootCamp and do I have to attend one to qualify for Matching Funds?
A CMN BootCamp is a four day process that provides strategic planning to prepare people to start new churches. During BootCamp, church planters will review all aspects of the planting process under the leadership of a team of facilitators and coaches with real world experience. CMN strongly suggests that everyone interested in starting a new church attend a BootCamp. To qualify for Matching Funds, CMN requires that you complete a Partner approved training process—we recommend a CMN BootCamp, but other training programs may qualify.
12. What is a church planting coach?
A coach is an individual with a developed skill set who partners with a client in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. There are individuals who have been certified as a coach, and in order to qualify for Matching Funds, you will need to have a certified coach or Primary Partner approved coach. If you need help finding a coach, CMN would love to help. Just contact our office and we will help connect you.
13. How do I obtain the documentation to affiliate my new church plant with the Assemblies of God?
Your first step should be to contact your AG District office. They can help you understand the differences between the three types of affiliation—General Council Affiliated, District Council Affiliated, or Parent Affiliated Church. If you still have questions, please contact the CMN office for assistance.
14. When I submit my application for Matching Funds, how long should I expect it to take before I find out if I am approved or not?
CMN strives to keep the turnaround time on all applications as short as possible. We ask that you submit your application to our office no later than 10 weeks prior to the public launch of your church plant. In order to help speed up the process, please make sure that your application is completed in full along with the additional information requested. These funds are awarded if you qualify and the funds are available. Therefore, these funds are not a guarantee and you should not make financial commitments based on these funds being awarded.
15. What is a Primary/Secondary Partner and who qualifies as a partner?
A Primary/Secondary Partner commits to stand with the church planter and church planting project in prayer and support. They will provide stewardship of the Matching Funds in partnership with the planter, and will agree to replenish the funds if the church plant is not able to do so. The Matching Fund check will be sent to the Primary Partner and it is their responsibility to ensure the funds are utilized by the planter in a manner that maximizes the launch of the church plant. Please see the Matching Fund application to review the terms of the Partner Agreement.
16. Do I have to have more than one partner to receive Matching Funds?
We believe it is in the best interest of the planter to have more than one partner. In some cases, one partner can suffice but there are many cases where CMN will require additional partners. Because there are so many unique situations that we encounter, please contact our office if you have any questions.
17. If I am approved to receive Matching Funds, will the entire amount be mailed to me directly?
If you are approved, all funds will be mailed to your Primary Partner as designated on your application. The Primary Partner will then be responsible for distributing the funds to you in a manner that maximizes the momentum of the public launch of the new church.