Guest post by Michael Lukaszewski
Starting a new portable church, multi-site church or mobile ministry can be a daunting task. You’ve heard the stats about the churches that don’t make it out of the first year, and those numbers are enough to scare the faith out of you. Too many churches barely get by in the first year because of a lack of funding.
Early supporters move on, leaving you with a crowd of brand new believers or people with limited resources to cover all of the costs. Here are some tips on how to thrive, not just survive in that first year.
1. Make it normal to talk about money. You can’t avoid the subject of money during your first six months and expect people to flip a generosity switch. Before you have services, and throughout your first year, you need to talk about money in a healthy and appropriate way. A lot of church planters inform their people that giving opportunities exist, but never clearly ask them to give. Every time you receive an offering, slow down and explain what you want people to do.
2. Spend less than you receive in contributions. An annual budget probably isn’t going to be much help to you in your first year, because things chance so fast and there’s little history. But if you spend 90% of what you take in each month, you’ll be in a good position at the end of your first year. Overspending isn’t good for a person, and it’s not good for a church either. If your donations are modest, your spending needs to be more modest. Don’t buy into the thinking that you have to spend your way to a solid core. Be wise with money early on.
3. Continue communication with your supporters. You need to over-communicate with your supporters. You know that church who said they couldn’t support you but to check back next year, well…do it. You know that organization that sends you money each month, go over the top to thank them. Record videos they can show their people…share your wins. Don’t just share your prayer requests and your needs…tell them how you’re using the money they are already sending you. Send thank you notes and thank you gifts. Yes…thank you gifts are appropriate.
4. Get a coach. A lot of church planters have tremendous experience planning services or leading a particular ministry, but talking about money is something totally new. It’s a different skill set – one that must be developed. That’s why you need a coach. Maybe Giving Rocket can help your church like we’ve helped many others. Or maybe you need to find someone else. But don’t skip this step…get a coach to help you grow in this area.
Have more questions? Reach out to Michael directly via his bio page.