Contact For More Info

2020 Community Transformation Overview

2020 Application Process is Now CLOSED

The Turner Center at Martin Methodist College is proud to announce our 2020 Community Transformation Grant. Eligible United Methodist churches and Districts serving rural areas are invited to apply for one-time grants of up to $5,000. This year, two grants will be awarded.  

Rural United Methodist churches are places of unique strengths in their community. In our Wesleyan tradition, the rural church was the backbone of the community and the early Methodist movement,making important and lasting contributions to rural places. Through the Community Transformation Grant program, we hope to encourage and empower rural churches to continue this tradition of community development.

Community transformation can happen in many ways. Programs might seek to combat a specific need or challenge, like literacy, workforce development, or hunger. Or, they might seek to build on an opportunity that adds to the quality of life in the community,like cultivating artistic talent for the public. All projects serve as reminders that our rural communities are places of joy, life, and promise.  

The Turner Center will award two $5,000 grants to a project that shows a clear understanding of the context in which the church or District work will take place, demonstrates a commitment to revealing and cultivating the gifts in our rural communities, and seeks to make a contribution to the life of the wider community.


Rural United Methodist congregations in the Nashville Episcopal Area are eligible to apply. A list of rural congregations can be DOWNLOADED HERE. If you have questions about determining your eligibility, please contact the Turner Center at Martin Methodist College.  

Though it is not required,congregations are encouraged to partner with other congregations, community stakeholders, such as non-profits, schools, or businesses in order to maximize the potential for impact in the community. Evidence of support from these partners should be noted within the application.

While Districts are eligible to apply, the scope of this project must be concentrated within the rural areas of their district. If funding an existing project, Districts must demonstrate how this grant will be used in rural areas specifically.

To be considered rural United Methodist churches, they must fit one of two eligibility requirements. They must either: 1) Be located in a county that is not designated as metropolitan by the US Office of Management and Budget OR 2) be within a census tract with a Rural Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) code of 4 or higher, which is the USDA classification.

65% of the churches in the Tennessee and Memphis Annual Conferences are considered rural. If you believe your church meets these qualifications, but is not listed, please contact us.

Projects Funded?

What Kind of Projects Will be Funded?

Community transformation projects seek to make a meaningful impact on any area of the community, including economic development, education, healthcare, natural and built environments,and improving the enjoy ability and quality of life within their community or region.

The selected project will:

  • Connect the life of the congregation to the surrounding community.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the challenges, gifts,and potential of the rural community in which they serve.
  • Show a clearly defined goal
  • Reflect a theology of evangelism that exceeds a simple focus on church growth.
  • Be both realistic and visionary.

In addition, we prefer projects that

  • Invite community partnerships, including non-profits, businesses, and county/local government.
  • Come from small-membership churches with limited resources (less than 100 in worship).
  • Demonstrate a deep joy for the ministry of rural congregations.
  • Connect spiritual and lived realities of a community.

What Won't be Funded?

Projects that won’t be funded include:

  • Continuing education for the applicant(s);
  • Compensation of staff totaling more than 10% of the total grant;
  • Food costs that are not connected to the community transformation project;
  • Projects that seek to improve clergy competency, such as workshops on preaching and worship leadership. Improving competency may be a byproduct of this work, but it should not be the primary goal.
  • Capital expenses, such as building projects and renovations will generally not be funded. If you believe your project requires a capital expense, please contact the Turner Center to discuss eligibility.
  • Projects that have increasing average worship attendance as their soul intention.


January 1, 2020: Completed Proposals are due. Proposals can be submitted online or download (applications now closed) and mail to the Turner Center at Martin Methodist College.  

No Later than February 28, 2020: Grant Award Announced. Funds distributed within 14 days of processing paperwork. Project must begin within 45 days of receiving funds.  

February 28, 2021: Final Report with budget due.  

A site visit will be scheduled during the course of your project. This will be the midyear evaluation.

How to Apply?




Submit a copy of the application to:

Turner Center at Martin Methodist College
Rev. Allen Stanton, Executive Director
433 West Madison Street, Pulaski, TN 38478