The General Assembly approve the Missions Board’s Principles of Funding document for the apportionment of the discretionary part of its budget to the mission work of the Church. They instruct that this Principles of Funding document be adopted by the Church. The Principles of Funding are as follows:
1. Word Based Ministry. The Missions Board will offer financial support primarily for the purpose of establishing, equipping and sustaining ministries that are Word-based.
2. Partnerships. The Board is committed to the local oversight and pastoral care of missionaries and missionary projects. Nevertheless, it recognises that in many cases it is not able to provide the necessary level of local oversight and care required due to limited financial and management resources. The Board will, therefore, set up suitable arrangements with partner missionary agencies and / or indigenous churches who have the resources to provide the necessary spiritual and practical care for those operating abroad. A list of suitable theological and missiological partner agencies will be compiled by the Board and reviewed on a regular basis. Such partner agencies may also provide support funding for missionaries as part of the arrangement.
3. Funding The Board will offer financial support of up to 50% of the package required, for fixed-term missionary projects. In some cases, the Board may provide up to 100% of the funding package for a time-limited period. The Board will establish levels of funding on a case by case basis. The Board will also provide assistance in the process of identifying and accessing other funding sources.
The Board is committed to time-limited funding in its support of its projects. Successful applications and proposals for funding will be for a fixed term and funding awarded will be for the duration of the fixed term. An application for an extension of the current funding can be submitted at the end of a current term. The Board will not commit to open-ended support of missionaries.
Funding for mission projects is largely dependent on income from congregations through the Missions Levy and the Missions Fund. The Board’s ability to give financial support to its mission projects in the longer term will depend on income from these sources. The Board will fulfil the Church’s financial commitment to its mission projects arising from General Assembly directives and the terms of legacy funding.
4. Short Term Mission Grants The Board will make budgetary provision annually (2-3% of overall budget) up to a maximum of £5,000 initially to distribute to Free Church members doing short-term mission work in various parts of the world. The financial support offered will not exceed £500 to any individual. This does two things: (i) it shows the Board is interested and supportive of all Free Church missionaries whether short or long-term, and (ii) it allows the Board to contribute a nominal fee to mission endeavours which would not qualify for larger funding.
5. Financial Sustainability The Board will strive to achieve the financial sustainability of all its projects and of its combined total remit. This will be achieved through careful project-led funding and budget planning aimed at realising a balanced budget from year to year. Applications and proposals will be considered by the Board on a regular basis and prioritised in line with the Board’s strategy. The Board will set out a timetable for such planning and agree a budget with the Board of Trustees each year.
6. Commitment to Communicate The Board is committed to communicate the work undertaken through all its ministry, mission and missionary activities effectively within the Church and beyond.