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Getting Started

Step One
Is someone already doing this?

This isn’t just to make sure you aren’t doubling up – there are a lot of advantages to working with an existing group over going out on your own. Working with people already engaged in your area can be an excellent way to maximize resources and make sure everyone’s skills are being used. Plenty of groups need specialist skills, help fundraising, a place to work from, or even just more volunteers. Regardless of your project, in a lot of cases it will make more sense to go out into the community than waiting for them to come to you.

Step Two
Have you completed Safe Church training?

If you’re going to be working with children, youth, or vulnerable people, it’s essential that you and your team complete Safe Church training before getting started. Even if you don’t plan to focus on children, the training offers many benefits in preparing you for working with and caring for your future subjects.

To help congregations in understanding their obligations and resources to assist, the Synod runs Safe Church Awareness Workshops and provides online access to a collection of templates and policies for congregations to make use of. Click here for upcoming workshops.

Working with Children Check

Under NSW law anyone working or volunteering with children must obtain a Working with Children Check before getting started. Applications are free for volunteers and, once authorised, last for five years. Find out more and apply online here.

Step Three
Do you have a plan?

Even if your project is relatively small, a written plan helps you lay out your goals and prepare for the future. There are many different ways to write out a project plan, but it should answer these questions:

  • What is the project’s scope? How big or small do you expect your end product to be.
  • What do you want to achieve? Know what you’ll want to finish with and break it down into the things you’ll need to do to get there.
  • Who does what? Mark down which roles your team will take and note any places where you’ll need help in the future.
  • What’s your schedule? What are your key dates and deadlines?
  • How much will it cost and do you have enough money to cover everything?

Step Four
Do you have the resources you’ll need?

Start by writing a budget. Even if you’re only planning a small event, or you don’t expect any big expenses, a budget will help you focus on what needs to be done.

Now your congregation and the work you did getting to know your community can really pay off. Look at what resources you’ll need and think of who can help with their skills, access to equipment and social networks. On your plan, mark the places where you’ll need extra money, skilled labour, more volunteers and other resources.

Depending on the size and scale of your project, you might want to look for funding form some of the following.

  • Ask if your church council is prepared to provide some funding. Even if they can’t fund the whole project, it will help you get started and many grant programs look favourably on projects that already have some backing.
  • Check with your local council, groups associated with your project, or other institutions that might offer grant program.
  • Check if you are eligible for any of the Synod or Uniting’s grant programs. These include:
    • The Innovative Community Grants Fund sets aside a percentage of Uniting’s operational budget for mission initiatives that will make a difference to people experiencing social disadvantage in the community.
    • Uniting Mission and Education makes New Missional Gatherings Seed Fund grants, primarily for the support and establishment of new congregations and faith communities.
    • It is possible, under strict conditions, to use property sale proceeds for
      Non-Real Estate Missional Activity (NREMA). This can include expanding ministry through new work, building the capacity of leaders, and buying equipment to facilitate a new work.

Skills and Interests worksheet
Combine this with your NCLS profile to find out what your church is most interested in and where their skills lie.

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