It is arduous work to plant churches and to pioneer new ones into unreached people groups. In Europe, our difficulties are more acute in the areas of bureaucracy, low donations due to low take-home pay, higher taxation, and higher property costs. These difficulties can be so daunting that when small churches begin, the idea of having a church home and a locality that would be their own is more than 20 years away. Often, the churches have very little to no patrimony (assets) of their own or too small of a budget for any bank to be willing to take them into consideration for approval of a mortgage of any kind. It's a hard and difficult situation to navigate.
However, Serenissima Ministry Group is working to play a small part in changing that cycle and assisting churches to be able to move forward with a greater presence and stability in their local communities. To do this, we developed the Greenhouse Fund in 2020. The fund is meant to act as a bank and a covering for smaller ministries to be able to access and acquire needed ministry centers in their fields. It operates as a kick-starter fund so the ministry can focus on doing ministry without all of the stress of trying to secure financing.
The advantages of this approach are many. The first advantage is that it keeps ministry assets and finances in the Kingdom which allows ministers and churches to work together. We are able to practice what the Bible calls koinania which is to share a part in God’s mission together by investing in each other. A second advantage is that we are able to tailor the approach to the needs of each ministry simply because we understand ministry. A third advantage is that the ministries are able to re-pay the loans at reduced, accessible rates and without interest payments! SMG is carefully lending liquidity to bring into reach what would be mostly out of reach through traditional financial methods. A fourth advantage is the encouragement to the donors who know that their investment is repeating and returning again and again. A fifth advantage is that the fund doesn’t need to be used strictly for property purchases but can be expanded to startup ministry projects and even businesses. We have found many more potential advantages, but we wanted to share these with you to help you become inspired with us about the potential ministry benefits a fund like this could produce.
Our Greenhouse Fund began with €60,000 and has already been used to assist a ministry in the acquisition and renovation of their first locality. The fund is growing, too. Our goal for the fund is to reach €600,000 which can be of assistance to a number of ministries simultaneously. Then, when a few ministries are filling back up the fund, a new one can be assisted. This is a big faith goal, but we sense it’s only the start.