New Church Development

Heartland District New Church Development

Partnership and Funding Procedures


Derek Robinette, Heartland District NCD Chair     John Hatton, Heartland District Superintendent                   



New Church Development in the Kentucky Annual Conference is a partnership between local leaders and ministries, District leaders, and Conference leaders. While both the District and the Conference provide funding, there is a difference in their additional roles. It is the role of the Conference to provide formal oversight and coaching to New Faith Communities (NFC) and their leaders, and it is the role of the District to provide a supportive relationship to leaders and to develop local connections designed to ensure ministry leaders are properly resourced. For further details on the Conference NCD roles, visit


An NFC’s relationship with the District NCD Team involves three stages: partnership, funding, and continuation. Below you will find an explanation of the application process and timeline for each stage as well as a comprehensive annual timeline of the District NCD’s work.




The relationship between an NFC and the District NCD Team begins with partnership. The district welcomes and reviews applications for partnership throughout the year, so it is encouraged that NFC’s complete this stage of the application process as soon as possible.


To begin the process, complete the NFC application found at  and submit it to the District NCD Chair. You will be scheduled to meet with the DS and the District NCD Chair. They will help you assess your application and determine to which of the following NFC’s it associates:

  • Church Plant: A planter is sent into an area to plant a new church, which is still connectional in nature and involves many levels of partnership, but is independent from any other UM congregation and intends to charter. KYAC Example: Revolution, Heartland District
  • Multi-site: An existing congregation launches a new venue for ministry. While the new venue may have its own distinct target audience, strategy, staff, or culture, the intent is to stay connected to the original church. KYAC Example: The Source at Southern Hills, Lexington District
  • Fresh Expressions: A Fresh Expression is bringing church to where people are. The goal is not to connect people back to an existing local congregation, but for them to experience Christ in the context of a community that is created outside the walls of the church. KYAC Examples: The Ark at Covenant UMC, Heartland District; Second Life, South East Kentucky District; Upton Emerge, Heartland District
  • Focused Worship: Focused worship is creating a new worshipping community within an existing congregation, which seeks to reach new people with a different worship experience than what is already offered. KYAC Example: Canvas at St. Matthews UMC, Heartland District
  • Missional: A missional plant feels called to reach a specific area or a specific people group that necessitates the need for continued funding. The goal is not for these plants to become self-sustaining in the normal timeline of 3-5 years, so multiple partnerships and funding streams must be established to guarantee the health of the mission. KYAC Example: Grace Kids, Heartland District
  • Ethnic/Multicultural: An Ethnic/Multicultural plant seeks to intentionally reach people from diverse ethnic groups represented in our Annual Conference. KYAC Example: Fuente de Avivamiento, Lexington District
  • International: We are not just committed to planting churches in Kentucky, but around the world. Therefore, we provide one-time grants to start NFCs in other countries. KYAC Example: Thailand Methodist Mission and Cuban church plants (if your NFC fits this category, they will connect you to the Conference NCD Team to determine next steps)


If the intended ministry does not fit any of these categories, it is unlikely to qualify for partnership with or funding from the District NCD.


Following this discernment process, you will be invited to come to the next month’s District NCD Team meeting to share about the NFC.



If the team chooses to enter into partnership with your NFC, this partnership will serve as the District NCD’s official recommendation to the Conference NCD for your NFC to be considered for their support. If you are seeking Conference year funding from the Conference NCD Team, your partnership with the District NCD Team must be established by March.


To establish or continue the partnership between your NFC and the District NCD, a partnership covenant agreement will be signed by you, the DS, and the District NCD Chair. The District NCD Chair will organize a time to finalize this document.


Following your interview, you will be contacted by the District NCD Chair to be notified of the team’s decision. It is possible the team will choose not to enter into partnership with your NFC but will still seek to provide you with some support. For instance, the team may provide a formal letter to your home church encouraging support of your ministry or it may connect you to a local resource that will be helpful in taking your next steps.



January-December     Receiving, reviewing, and approving applications for partnership

March                         Conference NCD Team approves Conference year funding

October                       Conference NCD Team approves calendar year funding




The District NCD Team considers funding requests in September of each year and distributes funding according to the calendar year. NFC’s are eligible for District NCD funding for the first five years of its existence with an maximum match listed below. The District NCD can match all other income the NFC receives, excluding Conference NCD funding, at the following rates:



Matching Percentage

Maximum Match ($)

Income Needed to Receive Maximum Match ($)

Year 1




Year 2




Year 3




Year 4




Year 5





If you have not previously applied for partnership, follow the application instructions found above under the Partnership heading in addition to the following instructions. Partnership and funding materials can be submitted simultaneously, but note that your materials must be submitted by midnight of Aug. 1st of the calendar year in order to be considered for funding. Review the included timelines for more information.


Supporting Materials

By midnight Aug. 1st, submit the following supporting materials to the District NCD Chair:

  1. A detailed Ministry Action Plan. Templates and guidelines for this document can be found at  
  2. A line-item budget detailing all anticipated expenses and sources of income, including all District and Conference NCD matching funds you are anticipating.
  3. A 2-page (12pt, Times New Roman, Double Spaced) summary of the ministry you intend to start, answering the following questions:
    1. What is the new ministry you intend to start?
    2. How does the ministry address needs in the community you intend to serve?
    3. Why do you feel uniquely called to start this ministry?
    4. Who is already partnering with you in accomplishing this vision?
    5. If applicable, what signs of fruitfulness have you already seen in this ministry?

These are the same supporting materials required to be approved for funding by the Conference NCD Team and should be prepared carefully. They are intended to be materials that support your NFC, so the more intentional you are in completing them, the more useful they will be to you. When preparing your budget, make a realistic income goal rather than simply budget income in order to be approved for the maximum match. If your NFC exceeds expected income and you would like to request a higher match up to the maximum for the year, you can make this request and consideration of it will be contingent on remaining funds in the year’s budget.



Following your submission of materials by Aug. 1st, the District NCD Team will review your materials at their August meeting. You will be contacted by the District NCD Chair to schedule a time for you to be present at the District NCD Team’s September meeting. Please come to the interview ready to discuss the following:

  • All of your submitted materials in detail
  • A succinct introduction to the NFC you might share with a nonbeliever
  • All funding options you have considered, pursued, and/or intend to pursue
  • What we can provide for you in our partnership besides funding


As when an NFC is approved for partnership, approvals for funding will be certified with a partnership covenant effective for the following calendar year. Approval for funding one year does not guarantee funding for the next year.



Matching funds will be distributed based on actual income. The District will distribute funds after every quarter based on the income reported in the quarterly reports submitted to the Conference NCD.


In order to allow for a healthy financial start to the year for NFC’s, the District will disburse funds in January to approved NFC’s for the first quarter based on a quarter of the projected matching funds. The second, third, and fourth quarter disbursements will be based on actual income and will be prorated if necessary.



Aug. 1st                     Supporting materials due

August                         District NCD Team reviews materials; discernment meeting with DS and District NCD Chair (if necessary)

September                  District NCD Team conducts interviews, grants approval

October                       Conference NCD Team approves calendar year funding







Your continued partnership with the District NCD will be determined annually in September and require the following actions:

  • Quarterly interactions with a designated member of the District NCD to receive prayer, be guided, and make requests of the team to help address immediate needs.
  • District NCD’s review of the quarterly reports submitted to the Conference NCD.
  • Annual resubmission of revised supporting materials by August 1 to be considered for continued funding. (Supporting materials listed on page 3 of this document)


During the course of the year, you may identify additional funding needs. As described above, you may exceed projected income and request an increase in the amount you are approved to receive up to the annual matching limit. Additionally, if you are in partnership with the District NCD and identify a critical one-time need, you may request funding to address this need. As is the case regarding exceeding your projected income, consideration of this request will be contingent on the availability of funds in the District NCD’s budget.



The review of your materials and interview process will follow the same timeline every year. If a continuation in partnership and funding is approved, a new partnership covenant document will be signed to be effective for the following year.


Annual Timeline

First Year

January-December     Receiving, reviewing, and approving applications for partnership

March                         Conference NCD Team approves Conference year funding

August  1                    Supporting materials due August       

                                    District NCD Team reviews materials; discernment meeting with DS

                                     and  District NCD Chair (if necessary)

September                  District NCD Team conducts interviews

October                       Conference NCD Team approves calendar year funding                  


Following Years

January                        First quarter disbursement

April                            Second quarter disbursement

July                              Third quarter disbursement

August 1                      Resubmission of revised supporting materials due

August                         District NCD Team reviews supporting materials for continuation

September                   District NCD Team conducts interviews

October                        Fourth Quarter Disbursement


[1] Other funding models may be available depending on the particular missional needs of an NFC. These funding guidelines will be reviewed annual by the District NCD Team.