Development Grants

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Office of National Mission offers domestic development grants to groups engaged in human care ministry. This grant program is being supplemented by funds from the Wiebe Mission Advancement Fund, administered by LCMS Foundation.

Highest priority is given to new or expanded programs that:

  • Reach out in mercy in the name of Christ.
  • Meet a real human care need in the community.

Application Process

The LCMS Office of National Mission awards Domestic Development Grants annually.

  • Grants are awarded for a 12-month term.
  • Applications are due Feb. 1; award decisions are announced in June.

Note: If Feb. 1 is during a weekend, the deadline will be the following Monday.

Please follow the instructions below.

  • Read entire application before starting.
  • The answer boxes on the application form are expandable; there is no word limit.
  • Email your grant application and all other required documentation to

Grant Application    Budget Template


  • Eligible Applicants
    • LCMS congregations
    • LCMS districts
    • LCMS Recognized Service Organizations


  • Grant Application Timeline
    • Applications are due Feb. 1; award decisions are announced in June.
    • Grants are awarded for a 12-month term.
  • If Feb. is during a weekend, the deadline will be the following Monday.

    All applications and required documentation will be accepted by email only and should be sent to

  • Grant Description & Criteria
  • Grant awards range from $1,000 to $20,000. Development grant applications are awarded for new or expanded programs that:

    • Reach out in mercy in the name of Christ;
    • Meet a real human need in the community; AND
    • Address one or more of the following questions:
      • Does your project help plant, sustain or revitalize spiritually healthy, vibrant and distinctly Lutheran churches?
      • Does your project provide opportunities to connect mercy projects in close proximity to Word and Sacrament ministry? Does it have that element or potential?
      • Does your project address a real human care need in the community? Have there been any efforts to validate the perceived needs?
      • Does your project collaborate with Synod's members and other partners to enhance mission effectiveness?
      • Does your project help nurture professional church workers to promote their spiritual, emotional and physical well-being?
      • Does your project address the ministry needs of children and youth that will enable them to grow into healthy, spiritually grounded adults?
      • Does your project strengthen and support the Lutheran family in living out God’s design?

    Applications for capital improvement projects, major equipment purchases or general operation support receive the lowest priority.


  • Required Documentation
  • All applicants are required to submit the following documents:

    • Grant application
    • Budget template
    • District president endorsement letter

    RSO applicants must submit the above items and the following:

    • Organizational history
    • IRS Determination Letter of Non-Profit Status (501c3 or 509a)


  • Reporting
  • Grant recipients are required to submit grant reports, and payments may be withheld until reporting requirements are met. The LCMS prefers for recipients to email reports to

    • The narrative report section will require a progress report, description of activities and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the project.
    • The financial report section will require an accounting of expenditures and identification of other funding sources.
    • Photos, human interest stories and prayer needs are requested for use in LCMS communications.

    Download Report Form

    Photo Permission: When an applicant submits photographs, they give LCMS permission to publish them in future resources such as the LCMS website, giving catalogs, newsletters, annual reports and other documents. The LCMS Office of National Mission respects the privacy of our applicants. Materials submitted will not be given to any outside party for use apart from LCMS activities. Information regarding the project may be used to seek donor support.


  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • How late can applications be submitted on the due date?

    Applications are only accepted by email, and they will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on the respective deadline:

    • Grants are awarded for a 12-month term.
    • Applications are due Feb. 1; award decisions are announced in June.

    If Feb. 1 is during a weekend, the deadline will be the following Monday.


    My congregation has many ministry areas and programs. May we apply for more than one grant?

    We encourage your congregation’s ministry areas to work together to submit one application. Components of the application can be managed by individual ministry areas, but only one application will be accepted per applicant organization.


    What is the difference between a project goal, objective and outcome?

    Project goal — The project goal is the “destination” where you would like to be at the end of the effort. It is a broad general statement of what the program or activity will accomplish. Example: The project goal is to assist with an unmet need and develop new relationships in the neighborhood community.

    Project objective — An objective describes the specific steps or tasks that will be undertaken to meet the project goal. You may have more than one objective. Example: Host an after-school program for children in the community.

    Project outcome — An outcome is the result that will be achieved when you complete the project objectives. Outcomes are linked to objectives. Example: 10 percent of the participants in the after-school program will be first-time visitors to the church.


    • Project goal: St. John’s Lutheran Church will provide an after-school program and establish new contacts in the community.
    • Project objective: St. John’s will host an after-school homework assistance and mentor program for 30 children in the community.
    • Project outcome: Three new children or their families will be actively engaged in regular Sunday school, Bible study or worship attendance at St. John’s Lutheran Church.


    Does my application need to be signed?

    No, a typed name is sufficient.


    How and when will we be notified about the grant decisions?

    Grant award notifications will be sent for all submissions, whether the final decision is positive or negative. Notifications will be sent by mail to the project coordinator’s attention.

    Grant decisions are anticipated to be made by the end of May for the Spring cycle and by the end of January for the Fall cycle. We ask for your patience while our office prints and mails these letters.


    When will grant money be available to the recipient?

    Grant agreements are mailed with the award notifications. Grant funds are disbursed after one page of the grant agreement is signed and returned to our office. Smaller grant awards may be disbursed as a one-time payment. Larger grant awards may be distributed in two payments and are contingent upon receipt of required reporting.


    What are the project reporting requirements for the grant?

    Specific reporting requirements are included in the grant agreement that accompanies your grant award notification. Reporting is required by all grant recipients. Reporting should include a description of goals, objectives and outcomes met. Please include pictures whenever appropriate.

    Download Grant Report Form


    If we receive a grant, can we apply again for the same project after the grant term ends?

    Another new application can be submitted for the same project, however there are no guarantees that an additional grant will be awarded. Applications for the same project are limited to three years. Any subsequent grants are awarded in declining amounts.


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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution differently. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent.  Consistent with Synod Board policy, no more than 12 percent of a charitable contribution may be applied to administering gifts and communicating with contributors.  Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

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