Scholarships as Ministry


It is the season of high school graduations, and the youth in our communities are looking forward to the next chapter of life. This is an important time for our churches to consider the many ways we may be supportive of all students and their families – both within our congregations and in the larger surrounding community. 

A scholarship fund is easy to create at the Foundation and is a great opportunity for congregations and individual donors to get involved in lifting new generations. Indeed, scholarships can provide more than financial support, they can provide a relational bridge to students and families at many important stages in life.

There are all kinds of creative ways churches and individual donors can use scholarships to strengthen or create new connections. For example, create a scholarship fund for:
  • Graduating High School seniors within the congregation (for tech/trade school or college). This is a delightful opportunity to recognize students that have grown up in the church and can be celebrated in a worship service. 
  • Graduating High School seniors in your community (for tech/trade school or college). Ask your local high school if you can attend their yearly scholarship awards assembly and present it to the student(s). What a great way to show the whole community that your church supports all students.
  • Single parents returning to college or a tech/trade school. This sends a message to single parents that your church welcomes and supports them.
  • Pre-school and daycare families struggling to pay tuition. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be known in your community as the church that helps families?

To further the relational connection, the church can follow up with the scholarship recipients throughout the year with notes, phone calls, words of encouragement and even care packages. This is a beautiful expression of the hands and feet of Christ at work to those outside the walls of the church. And word gets around that your church is one that cares.

For churches that feel that they don’t have the funds for a scholarship program, here are some ideas to start and grow a scholarship fund:
  • Every year at graduation time offer the opportunity for people to give to the scholarship fund.
  • Make the scholarship fund an option for memorial gifts.
  • During teacher appreciation week or at the end of the school year, ask people to make donations in honor of a teacher.
  • Extend the opportunity to fortify the scholarship fund to the community at large. If your church’s scholarship is impacting the community, the community will want to impact your scholarship fund.

For individuals who want to be a part of a scholarship fund consider:
  • Create a scholarship fund for your church at the Foundation. (This can be a wonderful way to memorialize a loved one.)
  • Include a gift in your estate plan that adds to an existing scholarship fund or creates a new one.
  • Provide the first gift to your church’s scholarship fund and challenge others to join you.

Contact your Missouri United Methodist Foundation at 800-332-8238 or visit to learn more. A Foundation representative would be glad to meet with church leaders and individuals to discuss how to start, grow, and administer a scholarship fund that expands your ministry.