A new award that celebrate collaboration, innovation, courage, and inclusion.

Applications open April 1, 2020.

In 2009, Convergence emerged as a diverse collective of congregations and leaders rooted in a just and generous Christianity committed to people, the planet, and peace. Many of the Convergence initiatives launched during those early years served as helpful prototypes that spawned new organizations and ministries beyond the network. Today, the landscape of our nation and our congregations has changed which demands that we meet new realities with new innovative responses.

Convergence Innovation for Impact Award

In the spirit of innovation and collaboration, Convergence is excited to announce the launch of the Innovation for Impact Award. This national award is given annually to the congregation who has developed a new method for ministry that significantly approves or enhances the lives of those in its immediate community and the world. This $1000 award includes national recognition, national feature interview about the ministry innovation, four sessions of executive coaching support, and inclusion in a growing online cohort of church-based ministry innovators.

What do we mean by innovation?
We define innovation as a great idea, executed with excellence, that addresses a real challenge in the world. We came to this definition by studying what business and thought leaders say about defining and measuring innovation. While their perspectives varied depending on field and focus, these three commonalities were clear: great ideas, excellent execution, real impact. For more on how we define impact, see the Impact section below. 

Why congregationally-based ministry innovations?
What some define as limitations (ie: specific geographic location, balancing multiple priorities, charitable financial structure, etc.) we understand as the unique circumstances that make up the life and work of the local church. While numerous social innovation awards exist for individual leaders, nonprofits, and even seminarians, we are not aware of any other awards program that grants awards specifically for congregationally-based innovations. We want you and your church to know we understand your unique circumstances and we see you innovating where your community needs it most.

Whether your ministry innovation has incorporated as a 501c3, functions as a social enterprise, or whether it functions solely in-house at your church, all congregationally-based ministry innovators are welcome to apply.

Congregationally-based ministry innovations:

  • Brick and mortar churches are called to a specific location simply by design. (Web-based churches have their own unique geographic community.) The ideal congregationally-based ministry innovation has an intimate connection to the geographical location of their host congregation as part of their work.
  • Whether functioning as an autonomous organization or not, the ideal congregationally-based ministry innovation receives guidance, support, and work hours from their sponsor-church’s membership body.

What do we mean by impact?
We believe a project or initiative makes real impact when it can show progress on a real need related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). An innovative impact project can show hard data demonstrating impact in one or more of the SDG areas. Exemplary projects or initiatives will also show attentiveness to those SDG areas that are most critical in their targeted contexts, and how they identified those critical needs. The SDG areas are listed below, and more details on these goals can be found at here

        1. No Poverty
        2. Zero Hunger
        3. Good Health and Well-being
        4. Quality Education
        5. Gender Equality
        6. Clean Water and Sanitation
        7. Affordable and Clean Energy
        8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
        9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
        10. Reducing Inequality
        11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
        12. Responsible Consumption and Production
        13. Climate Action
        14. Life Below Water
        15. Life On Land
        16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
        17. Partnerships for the Goals

Applicants must be 18 years or older and represent a congregationally-based ministry innovation. All applicants must complete the online application and upload all requested supporting documents. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of qualified judges.

Submission Timeline

April - July 2020:     Application submission is open.
July 15, 2020:           Application submission is closed.
July - Aug 2020:      Applications are reviewed by panel.
August 15, 2020:      Finalists are announced.
Aug - Sept, 2020     Online votes are tallied.
October 1, 2020:      Winner is announced.