The Blessing Initiative

We have a proposal. It is simple -- and simply bold. Let’s give away $1 million!

That’s right - $1 million, all to projects that dream of doing good in their neighborhood.

Love moves toward the ache. 

The COVID-19 public health crisis dramatically upended our life together in ways that are obvious and difficult to overstate. 

Meanwhile, as the Blessing Initiative team has continued to meet virtually, we have felt stirred by God's Spirit to make a pivot, to fast-track some of the allotted $1 million to meet needs in the fallout of COVID-19. 

In April 2020, the Colonial congregation voted to designate $200,000 to the following frontline organizations: 

Sheridan Story -- $100,000
VEAP -- $50,000
CES -- $25,000
Families Moving Forward -- $25,000

We selected these partners in collaboration with Missions Pastor Paul Bertelson and the Missions Ministry Action Team. We have a rich history with each of the four partners, and we chose them because we believe that they both need the funds and are well-equipped to use them immediately to bring relief to our neighbors in the Twin Cities. Organizations will have these funds by early May 2020.

     So what's next?

Before COVID-19 made its presence known in the U.S., we were set to rollout with applications opening in May 2020 with the process concluding in January 2021. 

That timeline is delayed now, but we want you to know that we aren't fully hitting the pause button. Council has affirmed our process, and the entire $1 million has already been transferred from the Foundation to the church.

As a team, we are watching, thinking, and praying. We're keeping our eyes on our global landscape, the local news cycle, and our neighbors both near and far. While our process is delayed indefinitely, we will keep you informed as the process grinds out of its halt.

See below for past updates detailing the unfolding process!

March 8, 2020:

Now that Council has affirmed the process, the Blessing Initiative is preparing to move forward! 

     We need champions with a plan.

A champion is anybody who either has a big idea or knows somebody who does.

A champion believes that big idea will do all kinds of good in the neighborhood and they're so excited about it that they're willing to stand up for it over the long haul. As you begin making plans, know that we're looking for ideas that match these values:

  1. Align with Colonial's Core Values (ideas that match the 5 Core Values that emerged out of ReForming)
  2. High Engagement (ideas that invite the congregation to roll up their sleeves and participate)
  3. Ongoing Relationship (ideas that engage the congregation years after they've been funded)

The time is coming. Will you dream big?

Yes, you! Let's take risks. Let's trust that God will meet us in our desire to be a blessing. Who knows? It might just bring all kinds of good to the neighborhoods around us.

February 26, 2020: The Blessing Initiative's process has been affirmed at the most recent Council meeting. The team is eager to continue moving forward. Look for more in the coming weeks about how the overall process will unfold!

January 29, 2020: Since you voted to set aside $1 million to give away in November, the Blessing Initiative team has been moving forward and dreaming for what lies ahead.  Here’s our most recent update:

  • The Council approved four new members to the Blessing Initiative team: Steve Anderson, Wendy Senior, Rod Stalley and Laura VanderTop. They join Dave Engelbert, Mary Fisher, David Lima, Linda Nyvall, Terese Reiling-Holden and Lance Steinke.
  • Brian Jones has been hired as a consultant to the project. His experience in missions and knowledge of Colonial— particularly with Innove, is proving invaluable. We’re grateful that Brian is part of the team.
  • This team has been meeting weekly, collaborating to create a process that will serve Colonial well. You’ll hear more about the details in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, it’s time to start thinking and dreaming!

 What mission-related project would you like to see Colonial engage in? What non-profits are you involved with that could benefit from involvement with the Blessing Initiative? Please prayerfully consider how you can be involved with the Blessing Initiative.

Congregation Approves $1 million for The Blessing Initiative

On Sunday, November 24, 2019, the congregation of Colonial Church approved the action of the Colonial Church Council and Colonial Foundation to earmark $1 million of Foundation monies for future mission projects.  At the meeting, attended by over 200 members, comments and questions were heard with an ultimate vote to affirm the motion.  The Blessing Initiative, a project led by the Ministry Action Team headed by Lance Steinke, will now move forward to develop the process for receiving and screening ideas and proposals which will come from the congregation.  The Church Council has oversight of The Blessing Initiative and will approve the process. The congregation will approve the persons and organizations funded.  At present, names are being received for those interested in being a part of The Blessing Initiative Team.  Please indicate your interest in serving by sending your name to  As a reminder: no Blessing Initiative Members may submit or advocate for any particular proposal now or into the future. Current Team members include Lance Steinke, Chairperson; David Lima, Terese Holden, Linda Nyvall, David Englebert.  

The PowerPoint presented at the meeting is available here or at the Connection Corner.