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Mission Match®





Notice.

Mission Match Applications are not being accepted at this time.

On May 31, 2016, Mission Match reached its current distribution level.

This notice will be removed when Mission Match Matching Contribution funds to be distributed are at a level such that applications are again being accepted.

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Mission Match® Guidelines

Guidelines Introduction

Mission Match's goal is that matching funds are given out on a formula, rather than discretionary, basis. That means that if money is available, Mission Match funds are shared on a first-come, first-served basis with qualified congregations completing applications for qualified mission projects. As noted in the Terms and Conditions, "Mission Match shall be the sole and final judge, both of the qualification of applications, and whether the proposed mission projects meet the Mission Match criteria." Mission Match is a project of empty tomb®, inc.

Guidelines Overview

Following is a brief overview of the Guidelines for defining "qualified" congregations and "qualified" mission projects. Detailed Applicant Guidelines follow this Guidelines Overview.

  1. Mission Match funds are available to historically Christian congregations located in the United States.
    In general, the vast majority of congregations in the United States that self-identify as Christian would qualify to apply for Mission Match funds. Illustrations of how these congregations may well identify themselves are seen by denominations or denominational family names such as Anabaptist, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Fundamental, Lutheran, Mainline, Methodist, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal/Charistmatic, and Reformed communions.
  2. Mission projects for which Mission Match funds are requested are to be carried out in Jesus' name.
  3. It is intended that the requested Mission Match funds will be matching New Mission Money raised within the requesting congregation, and that this New Mission Money will be expanding the congregation's spending on missions as a portion of total spending in the current year, compared to last year.
  4. Mission projects can be focused on either domestic needs of low-income persons in the United States or be international in focus.
    1. Domestic needs: Eligible domestic projects in the U.S. are focused on low-income people (e.g., around two-times poverty level or less — see the U.S. Poverty Guidelines). and located at a distance at least 90 miles or more from Champaign, Illinois, the home of Mission Match's parent organization, empty tomb, inc.
    2. International needs: International projects can be any combination of word and/or deed outside the United States.
  5. The term "mission projects" can encompass a wide description of activity, as seen in the Mission Handbook 2004-2006.1 A quick review of Past Projects provides an overview of the types of projects that have qualified previously for Mission Match matching funds. The types of activities that qualify include, but are not limited to, direct evangelism, health work, refugee resettlement, education activities, agriculture, sanitation, water system and construction work projects. It may be noted that there are nontraditional mission activities that will not qualify for Mission Match matching funds, including, but not limited to, conducting or promoting nontraditional mission activities such as abortion, euthanasia, illegal activities, nontraditional morality, political activities, violent activities, and sinful activities, based on a New Testament hermeneutic.

In summary, available Mission Match matching funds are given to historically Christian congregations located in the U.S. that are striving to expand the congregation's spending on missions as a portion of total spending in the current year, compared to last year, by pursuing mission projects that fall within the broad definition of traditional missions designed to glorify God through Jesus Christ.

Detailed Applicant Guidelines

The Application asks you to affirm that you have read and agree to abide by the Applicant Guidelines, including these Detailed Applicant Guidelines, before applying for Mission Match funds.

I. General Guidelines

  A. Goal
    The goal of Mission Match is to foster a substantial realization of the mission giving potential of the historically Christian church in the United States, out of love for the world, to the glory of God through his Son Jesus Christ as guided by the Holy Spirit.
    The goal of the Mission Match Guidelines is to facilitate the transparent utilization of Mission Match by all those interested in a way that both maximizes clear communication, and thereby helps to protect the dignity of all who may have questions about Mission Match.

  B. Initial Consideration: Formula versus Discretionary Matching
    Formula Matching refers here to the process whereby a congregation applying for Mission Match funds has, ideally, been presented with the Mission Match requirements and guidelines related to the Mission Match decision making. That is, if the congregation's application meets the clearly articulated Mission Match requirements and guidelines, then the congregation qualifies for the Mission Match funds on a first-come first-served basis.
    Discretionary Matching refers here to a process whereby Mission Match would theoretically decide which of a number of congregational applications seem better than others in accordance with the discretionary judgment of Mission Match representatives and/or explicitly articulated criteria.
    The goal of Mission Match is to provide Formula Matching in contrast to Discretionary Matching. Embedded within the Formula Matching concept is the idea that Mission Match requirements and guidelines are explicitly articulated in a fashion accessible to potential applicants.

  C. Basis for Project Guidelines

    1. Ideal of Oneness of the Body of Christ
      In John 17, Jesus prayed on behalf of his present and future disciples that we would be of one mind and one heart.

    2. Expanding Missions as a Portion of Congregational Spending
      If Christians in the U.S. gave at the 10 percent of after-tax income level, there would be over $160 billion more available for missions (see the Potential page for the most recent number).
      While the traditional standard for Christian giving is the tithe, or 10%, actual giving to churches has been hovering around 2.5% in the first decade of the new millennium. While a group of nine Protestant denominations gave, on average, seven cents of every dollar to denominational overseas missions in the 1920s, by 2003 these denominations averaged only two cents. (See the Giving Research page on the empty tomb Web site for more information.)
      To address the difference between what is and what should be, Mission Match is designed to offer a practical incentive to encourage congregations to reach more of their potential in the area of mission support. Funds are available to congregations that indicate the New Mission Money they raise from their congregation members, to be matched with Mission Match funds, will expand the congregation's spending on missions as a portion of total spending in the current year, compared to last year.

    3. Traditional Projects upon Which A High Degree of Agreement Might Be Assumed
      Inasmuch as Christians differ on an array of matters, the goal for the Mission Match Project Guidelines is to try to focus on the many areas over which one might expect there to be general agreement.

    4. Non-Controversial Topics with a Presumption of Traditional Morality
      Just as Mission Match Project Guidelines hope to focus on those projects about which church leaders agree, the Guidelines hope to avoid the more salient topics over which church leaders disagree. Many of these conflictual areas that involve personal morality will be approached with a presumption of traditional morality.
      One such area that has engendered a great deal of controversy within the church over the past few decades has to do with sexuality. Thus, Mission Match does not provide matching funds for projects that encourage, support, or promote activities inconsistent with the following section of empty tomb's "Affirmation of Conduct and Statement of Faith."
Our understanding of a Christian sexual ethic reserves heterosexual union for marriage and insists on continence for the unmarried. Our understanding of a Christian sexual ethic is that marriage is between one man, who has been classified male physically at and from the time of birth, and one woman who has been classified female physically at and from the time of birth. We believe premarital, extramarital and homosexual forms of explicit sexual conduct to be inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture.

    5. Non-Controversial Topics vis-à-vis Projects That Are Legal, Apolitical, and Nonviolent
      The church down through the ages has been involved in controversial undertakings. Mission Match Guidelines are not attempting to evaluate such areas as Martin Luther's relation to German Princes, Presbyterian involvement in the American Revolution, Catholic just war theories, and Reinhold Niebuhr's views of Christian realism. Rather, Mission Match Guidelines are attempting to focus more narrowly on the massive number of a broad array of relatively non-controversial missional projects that could benefit from increased support. Again, it is important to observe that Mission Match Guidelines are for Mission Match Projects and are not designed to evaluate explicitly the wide range of alternative denominational and paradenominational church-related missional options that exist through a variety of mission agencies.

      Mission Match Project Guidelines call for support of those projects that are:
      a. Legal
        The ideal here is to conform to the directive found in Romans 13:1, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities."
      b. Apolitical
        While "political" covers such a wide area, Mission Match Guidelines call for providing matching funds for projects that are neither focused on political conflicts, nor on the support of candidates or legislation.
      c. Nonviolent
        Mission Match declines to support the funding of the purchase of armaments, or related training. Likewise, Mission Match does not support terrorist or paramilitary activities.
    6. Options for Freedom of Conscience and Action
      Of course, Christians who feel strongly that political activity and organizing should be at the forefront of missional action, or who feel uncomfortable, for example, with a "presumption of traditional morality"--have a multitude of church-related or secular options through which to exercise those preferences.

    7. Mission Match Guideline Priorities
      a. Mission Match Guidelines hope to provide Formula Matching with as high a degree of transparency as possible for congregations applying for Mission Match funds, for denominations and interdenominational entities with which Mission Match is strategically cooperating, and for donors interested in providing Mission Match funds.
      b. Mission Match Guidelines hope to focus on the large range of positive missional goals and projects over which a fairly broad centrist level of agreement exists among historically Christian denominations and churches.
      c. Mission Match Guidelines hope to contribute to an institutionalization of Mission Match goals in order to facilitate a consistency over the years and decades to come, should our Lord tarry.
      d. Mission Match Guidelines hope to draw those who would like to focus on, and choose among, the enormous range of positive missional goals and projects over which a fairly broad, wide-ranging level of agreement exists among historically Christian denominations and churches, while realizing that there are a multitude of missional options through a large variety of venues for those interested in any of the relatively small number of mission projects that may fall outside the Mission Match Guidelines.

  D. Need for Historically Christian Congregation Guidelines
    Historically Christian Congregation Guidelines are presented in order to make as transparent as possible an articulation of those historically Christian congregations that are invited to apply for Mission Match funds. In general, the vast majority of congregations in the United States that self-identify as Christian would qualify to apply for Mission Match funds. Illustrations of how these congregations may well identify themselves are seen by denominations or denominational family names such as Anabaptist, Anglican, Evangelical, Holiness, Independent Bible Churches, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Protestant, and Roman Catholic. It is assumed that various ethnic and racial historically Christian congregations are generally historically associated with the foregoing types of traditions. For example, Mission Match is happy to receive inquiries from primarily Korean-American Presbyterian congregations as well as from primarily European-American Presbyterian congregations. Likewise, Mission Match is pleased to receive inquiries from primarily African-American Baptist, Methodist, or Pentecostal congregations as well as from primarily European-American Baptist, Methodist, or Pentecostal congregations.

  E. Basis for Historically Christian Congregation Guidelines
    The development of the empty tomb, inc. Yoking Map, both as first published in The Hidden Billions2 in 1984, and as updated in 2004 and published in The State of Church Giving through 2002 (SCG02, 2004),3 provided the occasion and necessity for identifying numbers of historically Christian adherents in two data sets. One data set focused on adherents in the United States, and one on adherents globally.

    1. The United States
      Religious Congregations & Membership in the United States 2000 (RCMUS 2000, 2002) contained "statistics for 149 religious bodies, providing information on the number of their congregations within each region, state, and county of the United States... The 149 groups that furnished data reported 268,254 congregations with 141,371,963 adherents," which constituted 50.2% of "Total Population."4 As noted in SCG02 (2004, Appendix D, p. 175), "Thirteen religious entities were not considered historically Christian for purposes of the Yoking Map, and were filtered out of the adherents data" (SCG02, 2004, p. 175). As observed in SCG02 (2004, p. 75), "The list of RCMUS 2000 Code and Full Group Name (2002, pp. xix-xxii) not included in the historically Christian adherent figure is as follows:

      056 Baha'i
      076 Buddhists
      151 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The
      173 Community of Christ
      252 Hindus
      267 Muslim Estimate
      268 Jains
      290 Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches5
      416 Sikhs
      425 Taoists
      435 Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
      490 Zoroastrians
      496 Jewish Estimate."

    2. Global Categories Help Define U.S. Categories
      Sources employed for global information contained in the empty tomb Yoking Map® are useful for this "Basis for Historically Christian Congregation Guidelines" section of the Mission Match Guidelines, since these sources regarding Global Categories also provide extensive information regarding the classification of religious denominations within the United States.
      As noted in SCG02 (2004, Appendix D, p. 176), global categories of Christian "megablocs" were used to develop the Yoking Map:
        The global information contained in the Yoking Map builds on the work of David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson in the World Christian Encyclopedia.6 This source document is behind the data in the copyrighted World Christian Database.7
        Each nation's Christian adherents, less the "Marginal" "Christian megabloc" and four of the "Christian traditions" within the "Independents" "Christian megabloc" listed in the World Christian Database,8 were divided by the population of that nation. The result was the percent of historically Christian adherents in that nation.
              The data for the number of Christian adherents and population for each nation was originally obtained on 4/1/2004 from http://www.worldchristiandatabase.org/wcd/esweb.asp?wci=Results&Query=-287. 9

    3. Observation re "Marginal" Classification
      Specifically with regard to Marginal Protestants, we note the following comments from the World Christian Encyclopedia:
        "It is not our purpose, here, to evaluate the authenticity of particular branches of Christianity. Thus the term 'Marginal Protestantism' just coined and defined above contains many movements claiming to be Christian but which, from the standpoint of mainline Catholic, Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox theology, are usually considered to be only pseudo-Christian, or heretical, or even not Christian at all."10

  II. Specific Guidelines
    A. Increase Mission Giving
      The goal of Mission Match is to increase mission giving among historically Christian congregations in the United States. Thus, the goal is to see congregations receiving Mission Match funds expand mission giving over and above their prior level for any given year.
      As a result, it is intended that the New Mission Money raised from giving units in the congregation requesting Mission Match money will expand the congregation's spending on missions as a portion of total spending in the current year, compared to last year.
      Also, donations from increased giving by people within the congregation qualify as New Mission Money to be matched.

      Proceeds not eligible for matching are described as follows. Money raised through fundraising activities such as auctions including auctions of donated items, car washes, marathon events, bake sales, and other similar fundraising activities, whether limited to within the congregation or public events funded by the community in general, do not meet the goal of intentional increased missions giving and so do not qualify to be matched as New Missions Money.

    B. Focus on Helping in Jesus' Name to Stop Preventable Global Child Deaths
      A focus on helping in Jesus' name to stop preventable global child deaths was implemented by offering a larger amount of matching money for congregations selecting this option.

    C. Focus on Reaching Out to the Financially Poor in Jesus' Name within the United States
      For those projects located within the United States, Mission Match funds are available for congregational word and/or deed projects that are focused on low-income people, e.g., around two times the U.S. poverty level or less. See the U.S. Poverty Guidelines.
      Special Note: Eligible projects will be located at a distance at least 90 miles or more from Champaign, Illinois, the home of Mission Match's parent organization, empty tomb, inc.
    D. Agreement before Raising Money to Be Matched
      The congregation applies to reserve Mission Match funds, and waits for written confirmation from the Mission Match office that the funds have been reserved, before raising the money that is to be matched.

    E. Notify Congregation in Writing of Opportunity
      The congregation plans to offer to all members of the congregation, at least once in writing, the opportunity to contribute to the funds to be matched. A newsletter notice or a bulletin announcement will satsify this point.
    F. Matching Contribution Levels
      Specific dollar level for the various Mission Match options offered to interested congregations may be changed within any given year.

  III. Project Type Guidelines
    A. Supported Project Areas
      Following is a list of "Ministry Activities" carried out by a wide variety of 490 denominational and paradenominational agencies in the United States. These "Ministry Activities" would seem to indicate the normative, though wide-ranging types of mission activities that have traditionally been carried out by historically Christian mission agencies. Thus, the following list, insofar as it indicates types of projects that are not inconsistent with the above "Basis for Project Guidelines," serves as a list of "Supported Project Areas."11

      1. Adoption
      2. Agricultural program
      3. Apologetics
      4. Association of Missions
      5. Audio recording/distribution
      6. Aviation services
      7. Bible distribution
      8. Bible memorization
      9. Broadcasting, radio and/or TV
      10. Camping programs
      11. Childcare/orphanage
      12. Children's programs
      13. Church construction
      14. Church establishing/planting
      15. Correspondence courses
      16. Development, community and/or other
      17. Disability assistance programs
      18. Discipleship
      19. Education, church/school general Christian
      20. Education, extension (other)
      21. Education, missionary (certificate/degree)
      22. Education, theological
      23. Education, theological by Extension (TEE)
      24. Evangelism, mass
      25. Evangelism, personal and small group
      26. Evangelism, student
      27. Funds transmission
      28. Furloughed missionary support
      29. Information services
      30. Justice & related
      31. Leadership development
      32. Linguistics
      33. Literacy
      34. Literature distribution
      35. Literature production
      36. Management consulting/training
      37. Medical supplies
      38. Medicine, incl. dental and public health
      39. Member care
      40. National church nurture/support
      41. Partnership development
      42. Psychological counseling
      43. Purchasing services
      44. Recruiting/Mobilizing
      45. Relief and/or rehabilitation
      46. Research
      47. Services for other agencies
      48. Short-term programs coordination
      49. Supplying equipment
      50. Support of national workers
      51. Technical assistance
      52. Tentmaking & Related
      53. TESOL [Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages]
      54. Training, other
      55. Training/Orientation, missionary
      56. Translation, Bible
      57. Translation, other
      58. Urban ministry
      59. Video/Film production/distribution
      60. Youth programs

    B. Nonsupported Project Areas

      1. Abortion
      2. Domestic projects within the United States not focused on low-income people
      3. Euthanasia
      4. Illegal Activities
      5. Nontraditional Morality
      6. Political Activities
      7. Violent Activities
      8. Sinful Activities, Based on New Testament Hermeneutic

  IV. Historically Christian Congregation Guidelines
    A. Congregations Invited to Apply for Mission Match Funds
      In general, the vast majority of congregations in the United States that self-identify as Christian would qualify to apply for Mission Match funds. Illustrations of how these congregations may well identify themselves are seen by denominations or denominational family names such as Anabaptist, Anglican, Evangelical, Holiness, Independent Bible Churches, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Protestant, and Roman Catholic.

    B. Entities Mission Match Respectfully Declines to Invite to Apply for Matching Funds
      The following listing is for the purpose of serving various entities by clarifying Mission Match Guidelines in order to help congregations avoid utilizing time applying for Mission Match funds insofar as they may not fit Mission Match Guidelines.

      1. Secular, nonreligious entities

      2. Religious entities other than Christian

      3. "Marginal" Christian ecclesiastical megabloc tradition entities such as:

        a. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
        b. Community of Christ
        c. Jehovah's Witnesses (Russellites)
        d. Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

      4. Biblically-Nontraditional "Independents" ecclesiastical Christian megabloc tradition entities such as:

        a. Gay/Lesbian homosexual tradition
        b. Jehovah's Witnesses (Jehovah's Christian Witnesses; Russellites)
        c. Liberal Catholic (Theosophical, Mason, Gnostic)
        d. Spiritualist, Spiritist (thaumaturgical), psychic, psychical, occult

    C. Unknown Denominations
      It is hoped that all inquiries will follow the pattern observed during the first three years of Mission Match, namely, that all applications will be from unambiguously historically Christian churches. Should this initial pattern not hold without exception, it is further hoped that the distinction between historically Christian churches and other entities will be obvious and clear to all concerned. However, should these hopes not be fully realized, it is further hoped that consultation with widely accepted, reputable resources such as The Kingdom of the Cults12, and the World Christian Encyclopedia13 will provide wisdom and helpful guidance in addressing matters of this sort.

  V. Concluding Observations

    A. Most Congregational Applications Have Been Accepted
      It is interesting to note that, during the first three years of Mission Match operations, all applications for Mission Match matching funds, with the exception of one dealing with the non-poor within the United States, were for "Supported Project Areas" by "Historically Christian Congregations."

    B. Congregational Applicants Can Reasonably Have Confidence
      Thus, there is reason to anticipate that, based on the Web site information provided to inquirers regarding a description of Mission Match, most inquiries would quite easily fall within Mission Match Guidelines. In this case, the Guidelines will serve primarily as a courtesy to those interested in Mission Match. That is, those interested in Mission Match can have a certain degree of confidence regarding the operating rules and principles of Mission Match. In this way, the Mission Match Guidelines further the Mission Match goal of focusing on and following Formula Matching, in contrast to Discretionary Matching, for those interested in utilizing Mission Match funds.

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Original Guidelines April 11, 2005
Revised May 17, 2006; November 26, 2007
Mission Match is a registered trademark of empty tomb®, inc., Champaign, IL.
empty tomb is a registered trademark of empty tomb®, inc., Champaign, IL.



Footnotes
1 Dotsey Welliver and Minnette Northcutt, eds., Mission Handbook 2004-2006 (Wheaton, IL: Evangelism and Missions Information [EMIS], a division of the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College, 2004), pp. 315-345.
2 John and Sylvia Ronsvalle, The Hidden Billions: The Potential of the Church in the U.S.A. (Champaign, Ill.: C-4 Resources, Inc., 1984).
3 John and Sylvia Ronsvalle, The State of Church Giving through 2002 (Champaign, Ill.: empty tomb, inc., 2004).
4 Dale E. Jones, Sherri Doty, Clifford Grammich, James E. Horsch, Richard Houseal, Mac Lynn, John P. Marcum, Kenneth M. Sanchagrin, and Richard H. Taylor, Religious Congregations & Membership in the United States 2000 (Nashville, Glenmary Research Center, 2002), pp. vii, ix, 1.
5 Given "the debates about homosexuality that are polarizing and immobilizing the church" (SCG02, 2004, p. 64), it may be noted that the discussion on pages 59-64 of the "Are There Signs of Hope?" section in SCG02 provides perspective on the rationale for not including this denomination in the historically Christian adherent figure.
6 David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Encyclopedia (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).
7 World Christian Database of the Center of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA, (978) 646-4141, Dr. Todd M. Johnson, Director.
8 The World Christian Database presented Christian traditions in what were termed "megablocs." The "Marginal" megabloc included traditions considered outside the standard definition of historically Christian as used in the Yoking Map, and therefore were not included in the Need Units calculations. The following categories, as listed in the "Independents" megabloc, were also not included in the Need Units calculation: "Gay/Lesbian homosexual tradition"; "Jehovah's Witnesses (Jehovah's Christian Witnesses; Russellites)"; "Liberal Catholic (Theosophical, Masonic, Gnostic)"; "Spiritualist, Spiritist (thaumaturgical), psychic, psychical, occult."
9 The other data was accessed as follows:
"Marginal" adherents: http://www.worldchristiandatabase.org/wcd/esweb.asp?wci=Results&Query=-212; 4/1/2004;
"Independents": http://www.worldchristiandatabase.org/wcd/esweb.asp?wci=Results&Query=-211; 3/29/2004.
10 David B. Barrett, ed., World Christian Encyclopedia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 62.
11 Dotsey Welliver and Minnette Northcutt, eds., Mission Handbook 2004-2006 (Wheaton, Ill.: Evangelism and Missions Information [EMIS], a division of the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College, 2004), Ministry Activity type headings from pp. 315-345. It should be noted that although this list is drawn from the Mission Handbook 2004-2006 Ministry Activity type headings, there is no affiliation between the Mission Handbook and Mission Match.
12 Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, rev. and expanded ed. (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1985).
13 David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), vol. 1: pp. 772-89.



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