Last week, more than 70 mission-minded leaders and entrepreneurs gathered in Austin, Texas for NEXT Ventures, an innovative approach to finding, connecting, and learning from pioneering leaders as they present projects that shape future expressions of the Christian church.
Project leaders submitted concepts in early 2022 and Leadership Network NEXT Ventures leaders chose 12 finalists to present their projects to a highly engaged audience that included NEXT Venture Partners, network and denomination leaders, reproducing church leaders, and organizational leaders including Outreach Magazine and RightNow Media.
Applications were screened using the following filters:
Innovation: Is the project evolutionary or revolutionary? Evolutionary changes are incremental improvements of existing tactics or programs. Revolutionary changes are game-changers and inspire comments like, “We’ve never thought about doing it that way,” and, “They’re doing what?! I never would have considered that approach.”
Maturity: what kind of impact is this project currently making and what are the results?
Sustainability: does this project have enough infrastructure to support its staff and ministry?
Scalability: is the project reproducible to support the potential for exponential growth?
Diversity: does this project add to a diverse mosaic of models, approaches, ages, genders, and ethnicities that will serve as a model for Christian churches?
“This year’s projects were innovative, forward thinking, and absolutely incredible,” said Carrie Williams, CEO of Leadership Network. “I am excited to share the learnings from these projects in 2023. NEXT Ventures will continue to expand as we pour fuel on more projects that are helping shape the future of the church.”
Each project finalist received at least $5,000 in grant funding, with additional financial support provided to projects that align closely with NEXT Venture goals.
Finalists and grants include:
- Imagine Church Global: a collective of organically-led communities that gather either online or in a local venue to help cultivate community discipleship.
- HowToLife Movement: a fast- growing youth evangelism and missions organization that works to reach and mobilize Gen Z young people for Christ.
- Laliberte.live: serving French-speaking youth around the world through the online church and youth in Kinshasa, a large urban context in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Monochurch: reaching the next generation with the gospel online, and then connect those who respond to a network of house churches where they can be discipled.
- Joni and Friends: mobilizing churches to fulfill their mission as it includes people living with disabilities.
- Mighty Pursuit: digital hub that integrates local and online methods to holistically reintroduce Jesus in relation to the spirit, mind & body of the individual.
- A Corner Church Within Walking Distance: facilitating the development of valued in-community businesses within walking distance of the people living in urban Minneapolis.
- Okoa Refuge: equipping ministry serving indigenous men and women and church planters in East, Central and North Africa.
- WI+H Movement: transforming community pain points through disciple-making movements and elevating businesses as tools of justice.
All In Ministries: serves the local church by training nearly 10,000 under-resourced women in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, to be disciple-makers of Jesus.
Digital Church Network: providing community, care, and coaching for missionaries in digital and Metaverse spaces.
Our grant recipient at this level serves disciple-makers in sensitive global locations. Name withheld for security purposes. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about this ministry and opportunities to support the important work being done through these leaders.
To date, NEXT Ventures projects have received more than $600,000 in funding and include Greenhouse Network, Mission Church, Truth Republic, and others. Click here for a complete list and join our email newsletter for updates about future NEXT Ventures opportunities.