Few churches consider the idea of free government grants as a way of funding their ministry. Some churches may have problems with accepting money from the government for fear of having strings attached, but other churches may not even know that these funds are available for them. Before George W. Bush left office, however, he created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which is designed to help expand the role of churches and other community organisations in social problems across the nation. As a result, free government grants are available for churches.
Applying for Free Grants
Churches applying for free government grants should start as soon as possible because the application process is very long and tedious. For some churches, it can take as long as six weeks just to gather the necessary documentation and fill out the paperwork. There are companies that specialise in applying for free government grants for churches, and they simply charge a fee that equals a small percentage of any grant money the church receives. Once a church receives a free government grant, however, they can renew it without as much paperwork.
Free government grants for churches cannot be used for everyday church operations. For example, churches cannot use the free grant money to pay their electricity bill or their mortgage. Instead, the free grants are available to churches that have a specific need for it. If the church is beginning a new outreach ministry for at-risk children, for instance, it can apply for the free government grants. The grant money can then be put towards the overhead expenses for the specific program.
Former President Bush initiated faith-based grants during his term in office. He proposed offering federal grants to religious and charitable social service groups through the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Included in this idea are several initiatives, including the Compassion Capital Fund, Mentoring Children of Prisoners, Access to Recovery and the Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative.
Free government grants for churches has raised some controversy among people who do not agree that federal dollars should be going to religious organisations. Since churches operate tax-free, many people think they should not get any more assistance. Others feel that giving churches federal money violates the idea of a "separation between church and state."
Free government grants for churches can be a blessing if they are handled correctly. Unfortunately, church workers and volunteers may feel a sense of entitlement for working with an empty bank account for so long, and they may want to take advantage of the new free money. Be sure your church has a system of accountability established so the grant money is spent on the programs for which it was designated.