How much money does it take to plant a new church or multi-site campus? I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked that question. But, that question has no easy answer. Understanding the delicate balance between over-funding and under-funding is complex. There are many variables to consider when asking that question.
Six Questions You Must Consider When Planning A Planting Budget
1.Where are you planting? A city-center or hyper-rural area? These two areas are the hardest places to plant and take radically different approaches.
2. What are your expectations? If you are looking to plant a church of 75 you don’t need the whole enchilada. If you are trying to plant a church of 1,000+ you will need more dollars.
3. Who is planting the church? If it’s you, do you really have the chops necessary to plant the church in that location and realistically reach the expected outcome?
4. What model of plant or style of plant are you starting? High-impact/fast-growing or core-to-crowd/slower growth?
5. Can the place you are planting sustain the model of plant you want to launch?
6. How much are you bringing to the table? Listen, if you can’t raise money for a plant, then you can’t create buy-in nor cast vision very well. Those are two essential ingredients in launching a church successfully. If after a few months you can’t raise substantial dollars, you may want to reconsider if God has really called and gifted you to plant or whether you are planting out of rebellion.
These are just a few of the questions you have to ask before designing your planting budget.
All that being said, if you are not willing to invest multiple thousands into a church plant, don’t even begin. Remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for”? Whoever coined that phrase must have been a church planter. If you are a denominational leader and you want to start a fast-growing church by rubbing a couple of dimes together, remember, “You get what you pay for.” The quickest to kill a church plant or at least doom it to a life of anemic survival is to shortchange it.
On the other hand, if you are a church planter and you think that a denomination or sponsoring church should give you everything your heart desires, you’re wrong as well. Too much money can have a negative effect on a new church. Church plants are intended to become self-supporting as quickly as possible. Far too often, the cries from church planters for “More! More! More!” is answered with more, and the plant falls into a welfare pattern.
Church planting is, in many ways, a lot like raising a child. You would never think of having a child and then not spending some money on her. The baby cries out with hunger pangs, you buy formula and feed her. The baby yawns, droops in your arms, and you supply her with a crib. You would naturally tend to her basic needs. As she grows and learns to walk and talk, however, she will begin to desire different things. But you don’t give her everything she reaches for, do you? If you give a child everything she asks for, she becomes spoiled and dependent. A church plant is exactly like this. It will have many needs, but that doesn’t mean a denomination or sponsoring agency should supply all those needs without question.