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Terms of Reference for the LeaderShift Church Planting Project

(formerly Embracing the Spirit BC Fund)

The Embracing the Spirit BC Fund was established as a partnership between Trinity United Church (Vancouver), Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery, and BC Conference in September 2016 from funds generated from the sale of St. James Community Centre in February 2016. Embracing the Spirit BC Fund has been renamed the LeaderShift Church Planting Project.



Monies in the Fund shall be invested along with other Pacific Mountain Regional Council monies and shall accrue income in the same manner.


The initial “capital” of the monies contributed by from the sale of the St. James Community Centre shall be considered to be $3,200,000 for the purposes of these terms of reference, as decided by Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery (September 13, 2016). Future contributions to the Fund, if any, will also be counted as “capital.”

Determination of Income

Income to the Fund shall begin September 1, 2016, and shall be considered a combination of dividends earned, interest earned, realized and unrealized capital gains, and the net of costs in direct proportion to the Fund contribution within the total invested funds of the Pacific Mountain Regional Council.

The Finance Council of the Pacific Mountain Regional Council shall determine on an annual basis how much income has been earned by the Fund.

Use of Capital and Income

The full amount of the capital and all income shall be available to be spent to achieve the Purpose of the LeaderShift Church Planting Project initiative.

Monies shall be used in two ways:

  1. The financial support of a Regional Minister person or contractor (up to half time) who will oversee and support this initiative;

  2. The provision of grants to individuals and groups that meet the grant criteria.

The life of the Fund will depend on the number and size of grants made. It is anticipated that it will be approximately 5 years and will remain active until its funds are spent.

LeaderShift Church Planting Project Grant Committee

A Church Planting Project Grant Committee is be lead and organized by the Regional Minister of Church Planting.


Capital: Decisions regarding the investment and accounting for the monies shall be the responsibility of Pacific Mountain Regional Council.

Income Amount: A determination of the amount of “income” of the monies available for use by the Region shall be made by the Regional Finance Council annually in time for annual budgeting.

Staffing: Staffing and staff support decisions shall be made by Regional Council.

Grants: Receiving and processing grant applications, including needed consultation with the applicant, shall be the responsibility of the Regional Minister person assigned to this work. Final decisions on the provision of grants shall be the responsibility of the LeaderShift Church Planting Project Grant Committee. Decisions shall be reported to the Executive Minister of the Pacific Mountain Regional Council.

Review of Terms of Reference

These Terms of Reference shall be reviewed regularly by the Pacific Mountain Regional Council.


The purpose of the Fund is to support the creation of new communities of faith within the PMRC where Christian faith is nurtured and discipleship practiced.


Pacific Mountain Regional Council has the vision of new communities of discipleship throughout the region.

By “new” we mean:

  • they are designed to attract, connect to, and incorporate people who are not currently attending a United Church congregation;

  • they can take a number of forms including, but not limited to, church plants, intentional communities, café or social mission businesses, inter-faith collaborations, community collaborations, outreach, children and youth communities, and other forms not yet imagined.

By “communities of discipleship” we mean people:

  • who are coming together to deepen their faith, to learn about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit;

  • who are wanting to engage in the world from a faithful perspective;

  • who may be any stage on the journey, from new seekers and curious (or suspicious), healing from wounds made by Christendom, those who have some faith background or those longing to go deeper.

Fund Strategy

Grants from the LeaderShift Church Planting Project Fund will be offered and awarded to seed and support up to ten new communities of discipleship, each with a strong core of participants (in most cases 10-20) who are engaged in Christian discipleship (including Christian education, regular worship, and Christian service and witness as appropriate for their context).

Each grant will provide substantial funding for up to three years to support the creation and implementation of these communities of discipleship.

The application process and continued support, consultation and evaluation throughout the funding period will be provided by a Regional Minister.


Who may apply for the Church Planting Project grants?

We will be recognizing individuals and groups that have a clear connection with The United Church of Canada, including:

  • Individuals who are connected to an existing congregation or who have a relationship with The United Church of Canada. This includes lay leaders, designated lay ministers, diaconal leaders and ordained ministers.

  • Congregations who are willing to support a new church plant or a “fresh expressions” style of community of faith.

  • Individual Presbyteries or partnering Presbyteries who want to plant a new community of faith in their region.

  • Multi-faith partners who want to co-create a community together.

  • Social mission businesses who want to partner with the United Church on a faith-based discipleship project.

  • Educational institutions who want to partner with the United Church on a faith-based discipleship project.

  • United Church camps or retreat centres who want to start intentional Christian communities.


Grantees will remain closely in touch with and report to the Regional Minister of Church Plants at the Regional Council office. Regular oral reporting will be expected. Written reports will be required at key times in the life of the new project. Grantees will share their budgets and financials, along with updates on their outcomes, with the Regional Minister on an annual basis.

Grantees are expected to report to the Regional Minister and together assess the viability of their project when they have spent 50% of their grant.

Grantees are also encouraged to design good communication practices to maintain positive relationships with local presbyteries and other United Church constituencies.

Other Expectations

Grantees may use their grant for wages and staffing, rent and building space, operating costs of the project, supplies and communication and promotion. Unless specifically granted by the Regional Minister and Granting committee, funds may not be used to upgrade buildings, purchase property or buildings, or fund staff housing (we recognize there may be the exceptions in the case of intentional communities).

Grantees are expected to submit with their application an attainable financial plan for sustainability and viability including, in particular, financing plans once the Church Planting Project funding ends.

All grant applications must include details about the faith formation plans for the community. (While these projects are encouraged to involve non-Christian partners, the goal of this fund is to create new communities of discipleship.)

Proposals that demonstrate the goal of reaching out to people and communities who do not currently have a relationship with Christianity or present congregational life will receive preference.

Potential applicants are expected to consult with the Regional Minister of Church Planting early in their discernment period to ensure their vision and plans will be appropriate for the project grants.