Brave Change Planning

An essential part of the mission of The BTS Center is to catalyze “transformative faith leadership.” In support of that work we are excited to announce an opportunity designed to encourage experimentation and transformation in faith communities and faith-based organizations. Through June 28, 2019 The BTS Center has taken applications for one of our “Brave Change Planning Mini-Grants,” a funding initiative for communities and/or organizations looking to take a small-scale and concrete next step in their growth. These grants are not restricted to any specific religious tradition.

Purpose and Eligibility

These grants are for up to $500 and are to help communities of faith and faith-based organizations to support planning for a larger project, initiative, or transformation. We know that sometimes the first move in beginning major change is to take a breath, check in with members of your community, look at the whole picture, and reflect on what your next most faithful step could be. These small grants are to help support planning for larger changes that might be down the road. They are meant to support small, concrete planning sessions intended to encourage faithful change that builds toward new organizational life.

The funds could be used to help you buy books for a planning team, rent a retreat house for a day, buy food for a day-long visioning group, or contribute to bringing in a consultant on a topic you feel you need to think about with some depth and new perspective. We don’t care so much what exactly you are working on, or how precisely you intend to use the money, but we do want you to (a) identify a specific obstacle that has been holding your community back from healthy change and (b) talk about how the funds will be used to help you plan on how you need to proceed. You don’t need to be engaged in some huge revolutionary new project to get access to these funds: this initiative is to help kick-start conversations that could catalyze larger changes.

Faith communities or faith-based organizations are eligible and encouraged to apply. These grants are not restricted to any specific religious tradition.

How to Apply   (Please note, as the deadline has passed we are no longer taking applications)

  • No later than June 28, 2019, email us at using the Subject “Application” and include a PDF attachment (no more than 3 pages) that contains the following:
    • The name(s) of the person, persons, or group applying
    • A description of the community or organization that applicants are a part of
    • A description of role(s) of those applicants in that community or organization
    • A clear and specific articulation of the particular obstacle to change you want to address
    • How you want to use the funds to support planning for overcoming that obstacle
    • When you intend to use the funds (strong preference is given to funds used Sept-Nov 2019)
    • What other funds, if any, will be used in your planning process
    • How you heard about the Brave Change grant
  • Applications will be primarily assessed based on the following criteria:
    • Clarity and concreteness of the issue to be addressed
    • Fit of proposed action to address the issue
    • Articulated benefit of proposal to an established community
  • Awards will be announced in July and funds will be distributed after August 1, 2019.
  • A simple 1 page report and follow-up phone call will be completed within 1 month of fund use.

Need some coaching? If you have questions about the process, or would like to talk to someone about creating a more effective application, please email us at

Brave Change Resources

This initiative emerged from our planning for an April 2019 Convocation, "Brave Change: Courageous Churches," and our desire to extend the conversation and learning of that event. While no particular language or references to any specific material are required for a successful application, we hope that the information below (from the Convocation) may serve to help individuals think about the kinds of ways in which they may be wanting to pursue change in their organizations and communities. Additional information, including links to all recordings from Convocation 2019, “Brave Change: Courageous Churches,” is here.

Change and Human Systems

This 22 minute video with Callid Keefe-Perry and Jenn Macy explores differences between the cultures of stable, declining, and emerging organizations and communities. It discusses some of the challenges and opportunities that are part of organizations as they grow and decline and some of the particular leadership tasks most useful in various dynamics. The main visual from this portion of our day is available by clicking the button below, and a longer version of the video with comments about the goals of the event, some reflection on "bravery," and a Q&A section is here.

Obstacles to (and Marks of) Brave Change

This 39 minute video follows from the above and explores one way of thinking about what brave change might be. Common obstacles to change are looked at in depth and ways to overcome them are considered. A PDF of the handout from this session is available by clicking the button below, and a longer version of the video with a Q&A section is here.