Tools to Get You Started

Urban Center of Influence Funding Application

Purpose of a UCI

A UCI has one primary purpose: to establish new churches in urban areas that have little or no Adventist work. Often people are reluctant to walk into a church simply because it is a church. However, they will enter a building that offers something they know they need. UCI's are designed to be a bridge to people's hearts so that over time they will join a group of Adventist believers that is established by the UCI. Therefore, the express purpose of a UCI is to meet people's felt needs so that we can build relationships that will enable us to meet their spiritual needs. That is Christ's method.

If you can answer Yes to each of the following questions you should consider applying for UCI funding.

  1. Will the UCI have the express purpose of planting multiple new churches around the city?
  2. Will the UCI be located in an urban center with a population of at least 100,000 and have a ratio of less than one Adventist to every 500 people?
  3. Will the UCI be located in an area of the city with little or no Adventist presence?
  4. Do you have a business plan that will allow the UCI to continue to operate after funding ends?
  5. Are you planning to focus on an unreached people group? (See Global Mission's definition of "unreached" below.)
  6. Are you willing to provide annual reports to Global Mission during your first three years of funding?

If you answered yes to ALL of the questions above, you should proceed through the following steps.

STEP 1: UCI Operating Guidelines

A significant amount of funding is available for starting an Urban Center of Influence; however, receiving those funds will require effort, research, and time on the part of the applicant. Becoming familiar with the operating guidelines of a UCI will help the process move forward more smoothly and will help avoid rejected proposals.

Download UCI Operating Guidelines

STEP 2: UCI Funding Application

After thoroughly reading the UCI Operating Guidelines document above, next you must complete an application. The application is designed to help you answer the questions that the screening committee will ask. Each blank on the application must be completed before the screening committee is able to consider it. If the application is submitted with questions that remain unanswered, then the application will not be considered by the funding committee.

The application may be submitted directly to Adventist Mission for an initial review. It is not necessary for the document to be voted and funded by various church levels until after the initial review. This initial review is for concept only. It is NOT a guarantee that the General Conference will vote to fund the project or even that the General Conference supports the project in principle. It only means that the proposal seems reasonable enough to be taken to the committee for discussion. Please note that Global Mission staff are not able to provide detailed consultation on each application. The initial review will simply answer whether or not the type of project you are applying for is eligible to be a Global Mission UCI.

When your application arrives at the General Conference, our reply will be copied also to the division so that they can be aware of and contribute to the conversation.

Type the application into the Excel form in English and email it as an Excel file to the email listed on the form. Once the initial review is complete, then you can move on to Step 3. Do not alter the form in any way.

Download Excel Application Form (Latest revision March 11, 2021)

To aid you in completing your application, a sample application is available for download below. This is a fictional application completed by our office that will give you an idea of what Global Mission is looking for in UCI applications. Please do not copy the information to paste into your application. Create your own plans.

Download Completed Sample Application

STEP 3: UCI Business Plan

Once Global Mission at the General Conference has approved the initial concept for the proposed UCI, then a comprehensive business plan will be required. Most Urban Centers of Influence are modeled on a business strategy, enabling the center to become financially self-sufficient within about three years. Therefore, Global Mission asks for a business plan to be submitted along with the final funding application. The business plan may be created in whatever format you choose. A checklist of the type of information requested is provided using the link below.

Download Business Plan Checklist

STEP 4: Getting Other Approvals

Every Global Mission project must be voted and partially funded by each level of the church organization. The actual wording of the vote, the amount of money being voted, the date, and the vote reference number must be recorded on the original application form. After all of these votes have been gathered, then the division should send the completed application form and the business plan to the General Conference for funding consideration.

Funding Process

  1. One million U.S. dollars are allocated for the General Conference share to start new UCI projects each year. It is not possible to know the exact number of projects that can be funded with that amount because that will depend on the amount of money requested in each application.
  2. The budget will be split between different sized projects based on a tier system.
    • Tier 1 will be allocated $250,000. Projects requesting up to $25,000 will be funded from this tier. At least 10 projects per year can be funded at this level.
    • Tier 2 will be allocated $300,000. Projects requesting up to $75,000 will be funded from the second tier. At least four projects per year can be funded at this level.
    • Tier 3 will be allocated $450,000. Projects requesting up to $150,000 will be funded from the third tier. At least three projects per year can be funded at this level.
  3. Applications will be processed twice per year. Each April, approximately $500,000 will be awarded to the best project applications received, and in September another $500,000 will be awarded.
  4. While Global Mission staff are able to advise whether or not a project qualifies as a Global Mission UCI, they are not able to give detailed guidance for improving individual UCI applications. Instead, this site provides comprehensive instructions and samples of what the committee is looking for, and it will be up to you to create your project proposal based on those instructions.
  5. Global Mission at the General Conference will provide up to 50 percent of the total cost of a UCI project. The division, union, and conference/mission together will be required to contribute at least 30 percent of the total cost of the project or half of the amount requested from the General Conference, whichever is less.
  6. For the balance of the project's income, the sources of the funding must be clearly identified.

Definition of Unreached

People Group: A significantly large sociological grouping of people who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another because of shared language, ethnicity, religion, race, caste, occupation, education, and/or patterns of social interaction.

Reached People Group: In order for a people group to be considered “reached” by the three angels’ messages, the following criteria must be considered:

  1. There are adequate numbers and resources to effectively witness to the group without outside assistance.
  2. They have the option to worship in their first language or “heart language,” not only in a trade language or in translated worship services.[1]
  3. They have access to the Bible and other key materials in their first language.
  4. They have indigenous church leaders who can witness to the rest of the people group without working through a translator.

Unreached People Group: Agroup among which there is no indigenous community of believing Adventists with adequate numbers and resources to effectively witness to that group without assistance from “outside” (e.g. foreign cultures or other people groups).

[1] Worshipping in a trade language is not adequate for the following reasons: (1) a person’s first language is the heart language, the one a person was born into, and is the language that communicates at the very deepest level with individuals, and (2) often only the adults, especially those who work in the market place speak the trade language, while the women and children speak their first language in the home. If worship is conducted in the trade language it is difficult for whole families to worship together in meaningful ways.

Further Information

If you have questions concerning the process outlined above, please call 301-680-6615 or email the address on the application form.