Funding a new church plant is probably the most challenging aspect of the task. We aren’t usually doing well on this front. One option is to do a church plant that requires no or little money. This would include beginning as a house group movement, or remaining as a house church movement.
Another option is to meet only once a month and in small groups the remainder of the month. This will lower overhead by at least 1/2 the first period of growth. This approach requires high touch and high organizational abilities. Some are trying this but the jury’s out on its effectiveness.
Denominations don’t usually have the money these days to satisfactorily fund a plant. Most of us aren’t good enough nor have track record enough to inspire the confidence of leaders to garner much support. Many planters expect this support. The record is clear: 0utside helping struggling churches, denominational funds are usually just enough to hurt you.
So, what are the options?
I know that sole dependence on offering bags is a thing of the past for everyone. I suggest a comprehensive plan of funding as a planter who doesn’t have the partnership of a local church.
Develop a three-year plan for funding that includes the following aspects:
- Work bi-vocationally. Avoid retail work.
- Develop a base of 1/2 your personal support from relatives, friends, or find the support of local churches.
- Develop the support of at least 30 people before you go public in a significant way. Make the criteria for this early group funding for three years the start in insignificant ways.
- Develop a strategy that a denominational group will fund in a modicum level for three years.
- Apply for planting grants.
- Collect pledges from the church for the plant in six to one-year increments. Get it on paper.
- Break down your budget in such a way that potential donors can pay for smaller increments of your start. For example, facilities, personnel in CM, worship, publicity, personnel support in pastoral areas, curriculum. You will find people have varied types of motivation. It is easier to raise money for specific needs.
I really believe that determining which denominational family you join has to be based on a call to develop a movement that is good for the denomination. Thinking that any organized group can put you over the top isn’t going to work. We live in an era where the economy is such that we need to put movements over the top with moderate investment to prepare for the next great opportunity than Gen Y will over us.