Gathering Outreach Grants

Reaching youth through funding provided by LCMS Youth Gathering participants


In 2010, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod's Youth Gathering launched a Gathering Grant program out of a portion of the Gathering Offering to help LCMS congregations and related groups implement projects that place youth in leadership roles to reach out to un-churched and marginally-churched youth and encourage young people in their understanding of God’s love.

Current Grant Cycle: Now – June 30, 2019

Questions? Contact


Apply Now                  Eligibility & Deadline Info


What kinds of projects?

Gathering Grants help fund outreach projects like:

Sports Camps

High school youth, under the leadership of their peer, Chelsea Haack, hosted a free, week-long sports camp for a foster care center and trailer park community. Transportation to and from the camp was provided by an adult volunteer. The sports day camp also included a complimentary lunch, Bible for each participant, and opportunities for the campers to grow both athletically and spiritually.

A grant was received by Chelsea Haack, a high school youth at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Columbus, Neb.   >> Read more


Gathering Speaker at Special Event

After hearing Bob Lenz at the Youth Gathering, Bethany Pauley, from Trinity Lutheran in Holcomb, Kan., wanted her peers at home to hear Lenz's message. In partnership with Holcomb High and Students Against Destructive Decisions, Pauley organized an event, and more than 750 students heard Lenz’s account of how bullying has affected him and his family while reflecting on how their actions affect others.

A grant was received by Bethany Pauley from Trinity Lutheran Church in Holcomb, Kan.


Special Needs Activities

High school youth hosted a camp for people with special needs in their community. At the camp, youth from Messiah Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Mo., led participants in crafts, games, singing, and learning Bible stories. Both Messiah’s youth as well as the camps participants were blessed by their time spent together.

A grant was received by youth at Messiah Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Mo.


English Camp

A group of young adults taught English as a second language on a mission trip to Seoul, South Korea. The trip to Korea was a tremendous resource for the school in Seoul, the congregation of St. Paul’s Lutheran Chapel in Iowa City, Iowa, and the communities they serve. This trip also opened the door for one of the participants to enter a formal partnership with the school in Seoul to serve as International Student Ministry Director.

A grant was received by young adults at St. Paul's Lutheran Chapel in Iowa City, Iowa.


Eligibility & Deadline Information

The sections below offer more information regarding Gathering Grants eligibility, deadlines, application advice and more.

  • Eligibility
  • Who is eligible for a Gathering Grant?

    • Middle and senior high school youth ministries in LCMS congregations or informal groups of youth and adults in LCMS settings (i.e. circuits, districts, etc.).
    • Young adult ministries in LCMS congregations or informal groups of young adults in LCMS settings (i.e. circuits, Districts, etc.)
    • Lutheran high schools, Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs) and other organizations affiliated with LCMS congregations
    • Camps affiliated with the LCMS
    • LCMS districts and circuits promoting outreach to young people
    • Eligibility requires partnership or collaboration with or in service to youth.

    Individuals are not eligible for Gathering Grants.


  • Projects
  • What kinds of projects are funded through Gathering Grants?

    • Programs, projects and events related to youth outreach
    • Programs involving youth in service to youth

    Preference will be given to projects involving youth in the planning and/or implementation of the project, to projects reaching out to un-churched and marginally-churched youth, and/or to projects placing youth in leadership roles.

    What kinds of projects are NOT funded through Gathering Grants?

    • Projects or resources that conflict with the doctrine and practice of the LCMS
    • Ordinary, ongoing operating expenses; financial subsidy to make budget expenses; debt reduction
    • Major building projects
    • Purchases not related to youth outreach
    • Staffing
    • Expenses for youth groups to register or travel to the Youth Gathering or to a Servant Event are generally not funded


  • Tips
  • 10 Dos and Don’ts to Ensure You Receive a Gathering Outreach Grant

    1. Do involve youth in the planning and/or implementation of the project. These grants are intended to empower youth to reach their un-churched and marginally-churched peers. Encourage youth to dream of ways to do this. Place them in leadership positions and help cultivate their gifts and abilities. Then, be sure to highlight this in your application!
    2. Do (completely) answer all the questions! Duh. This seems like a no-brainer, but grants get Returned-to-Sender all the time because of incomplete answers.
    3. Do have someone (skillfully, thoughtfully) proofread and (ruthlessly) edit your grant. If they don't get it, no one else will. Don't use too many words. Cut content. Don't use five words when three will do. Choose every word. "Really" is a really bad word choice. "That" is a word that you (hardly) need to use. "Special" isn't.
    4. Do a great job on your budget ... a lot of people skip it or are vague on the dollars. Know how many bucks are needed, where they come from, and where they go.
    5. Do think in threes: "Kids need ... 1, 2, 3." "Our program will meet those needs by ... 1, 2, 3." "Your grant will help us ... 1, 2, 3." "The end result is 1,2,3 ..."
    6. Do say the magic word: "Leverage!" This means our money will get you more money. Tell us you have a great project people (with money) believe in. The best way to leverage: the challenge grant. Let's say you need $10,000. Get one person to pledge $5,000; or two to pledge $2,500; or 10, $500; or 20, $250 — you get the picture. Sell them on your project; tell them they're putting up a challenge and they don't pay unless the grant comes through. People love this, (we love this) and your $5,000 Youth Gathering Grant just turned into 10G's!
    7. Do come up with your "Elevator Speech." If you can convince others (and yourself) in 3-4 minutes (by the time you reach the seventh floor) your project brings value to the world and God's Kingdom, and you're on your way to making it happen.
    8. Don't ask for money for a one time gig or speaker or youth trip or service project or other event that really only benefits your youth group or church kids or friends. Reject.
    9. Do say another magic word: "Ongoing!" As in "continuing" or "monthly" or "regular." If your program effectively and creatively meets a need of local kids and/or youth in some new way with a regular, recurring, ongoing program that somehow integrates Jesus' love and life into kids' lives, you're a slam dunk for funding.
    10. Do say the REAL magic words: "Thank you!" Report back to us with thanks, success stories, pictures, videos and more thanks. You might just be setting yourself up for another successful grant request!


  • Deadlines
  • Application, processing and payments deadlines

    • Grant proposals must be submitted online to LCMS Youth Ministry at Submissions are welcome at any time within the three-year cycle. The current grant cycle ends on June 30, 2016.
    • Grants are processed by the Gathering Grant committee within 60 days.
    • If awarded, payment will be made within 30 days of the grant’s approval.
    • In certain cases, the Gathering Grant committee may decide to divide the grant into two payments: an initial payment and a final payment halfway through the project.


  • Grants
  • Minimum and maximum grants

    The minimum grant shall be $250. The average grant is anticipated to be $1,000. No grant will be made for more than $5,000. A grant cannot exceed the amount remaining in the Gathering Offering designated for Gathering Grants.


  • Terms
  • Length of projects

    Gathering Grant projects should not exceed two years. Final project reports must be submitted online to LCMS Youth Ministry within 60 days of project end date.


  • Reports
  • Report schedule

    • Upon awarding a grant, the Gathering Grant committee and grantee will agree upon a report schedule.
    • All reports are submitted online at
    • Reports are required every six months. For example, for a one-year project, a progress report is due six months after the grant is awarded and a final report is due 60 days after the ending date.
    • Progress reports include:
      1. Highlights of successes and challenges (required)
      2. An ongoing budget report (required)
      3. Pictures, video, or participant/recipient quotes from the project (required)
      4. Local press releases or news coverage of the event (optional)


Apply Now

With The LCMS
Youth Gathering







Join us on the journey

Mission and Vision

Seven Mission Priorities

The Lutheran Witness Magazine

The Lutheran Witness Magazine

Making Disciples for Life

Making Disciples for Life - Resource Center

Latest Convention Information

68th Regular Convention

Church Work Recruitment Initiative

Set Apart to Serve

Caring for Ukraine

Ukraine Support

Contact Us

  Email us

  Church Info Center: 888-843-5267
  Staff Switchboard: 800-248-1930
  Donor Care Line: 888-930-4438

 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7226


Guide Star Logo BBB Logo

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 toward another aspect of ministry that aligns closely the contributor’s goals and values. 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 and in recognition of the joyful response and generosity of God’s people over the past fiscal year, not more than 10.5 percent of any charitable contribution will be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors (compared to a not-more-than ceiling of 13.5 percent the previous fiscal year). Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

Donor Transparency Resources

Employment   |   For the Media   |   Site Map   |   Privacy   |   Social Media Guidelines    |   Social Media Directory


© 2003 – 2010   The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. All Rights Reserved.