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Maintaining Funds After You’ve Launched
October 17, 2012

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.

A church is a spiritual thing, but here’s a reality you must embrace:  Money changes things.  When the money dries up, you have to make difficult decisions that affect the quality and quantity of ministry you provide to your community.

But money also makes ministry possible. Imagine if you could fully-fund the vision that God has given you. Imagine what would happen if you were able to see financial growth from the inside instead of watching outside support taper off. Imagine the possibility of leading generous people who are eager to meet the financial requirements of a growing church.

That doesn’t start when you have services, when you break the 200 barrier, or when you find a permanent location.  Leading a financially healthy church starts before you even have a recognizable church.

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. One of the best things you can do is just make it normal to discuss money.  It’s a Biblical subject, and it’s a practical subject, so embrace it. 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 individual thank you notes to each supporter and thank you gifts. Yes…thank you gifts are appropriate.

From your prospectus and strategic plan, to communicating your needs to potential supports, to updating donors on what happened with the money, clarity is the key when it comes to communication.  Too many church planters write flowery communication with Christian or church-planter buzz words that don’t mean anything to the reader.

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.

5.  Lead your core group to give generously.

I was talking to a church planter about the size and commitment level of his young core group, and he told me that while he had about 25 or so people in his core group, about half of them were still attending and giving to their home church.  I told him his core group was half the size he thought.  Financial support is one of the most telling signs of commitment level. If your core group doesn’t give, they won’t give after you launch. 

This is important because what your core group does early on, your entire church will do on a grander scale later on.  Leading a generous church starts with a generous core team, no matter the size of the team or the place in the process.


Have more questions? Reach out to us directly at 800.939.7722

Guest post by Michael Lukaszewski at Giving Rocket