Where will the finance to plant a church come from?

By November 14, 2017New Works

Where will the finance to plant a church come from? Will there be enough to pay a wage? Will it be financially feasible to pioneer a new work?

These are some of the big questions church planters are faced with. The uncertainty surrounding finances and financial security is one of the reasons why church planting often doesn’t get beyond the dream stage.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! It is possible to put together a finance plan that will not only take away the financial uncertainty that so often goes with establishing a new work, but that provides the finances to pay wages and see the new work established.

Interested? Well let’s break the the process of planting a new church into two timeframes:

  • Before the launch,
  • After the launch.

Before the launch, there are many things that need to be attended to. Things like setting up a legal structure, putting insurance in place, getting up a web site, building a social media presence, printing, venue hire, equipment, the list goes on! And we mustn’t forget a wage for the planter / pastor unless they will be bi-vocational.

A well though through launch will involve a launch strategy that will perhaps take six months whilst the launch team is shaped, planning takes place, people are gathered and momentum is gained.

Four important sources of finance are discussed below.

Finance Before the launch

  • Financial Partners. Obtaining a financial commitment from the launch team members and other financial supporters provides an important source of income. These are people who will commit to help under write the church financially by contributing regular amounts that they pledge. For example it may be that a launch team member commits to tithing 10% of their income to the church plant for the next 3 years. Or it may be that a supporter outside of the church plant commits to providing a given level of support for a set period of time. The regularity of income that comes from commitments from financial partners enables confidence in budgeting.
  • General Giving. General tithes and offerings from those becoming involved in the establishing of the new work will also make a valuable contribution.
  • Church / Movement Affiliation. Where a sending church is planting a new work, the sending church will generally budget an amount to help with the launch. In some cases instead of a sending church, a denomination or movement will be a source of funds.
  • Grants. There are a number of donors and foundations where application can be made for the provision of grants for evangelistic or church planting works. This can provide an important source of pre-launch finance.

Finance After the launch

  • Financial Partners. Before the new work is launched, financial partners can be sought as mentioned above. If ten income earning financial partners committed to tithe 10% of their income to the new work for say three years, and their average income was $50,000 per annum, then this would provide a reliable income of $50,000 per annum to the new work.
  • General Giving. Whilst it is important to teach in the new work about a spirit of generosity and biblical financial stewardship, it is useful to work with a simple formula to estimate general giving. Depending on the demographic, a rule of thumb of $20 per person attending per week is a useful guide.
  • Church / Movement Affiliation. Finance provided from a sending church or a movement will vary greatly depending on circumstances. A key area to seek funding from such sources is that of the ongoing development and coaching of the church planter / pastor.
  • Grants. Finance from donors and foundations may be available to help in the establishment of new works. One such source will provide successful applicants up to one third of the budget of a church plant for a number of years.

Developing a financial model

We have developed a financial model incorporating the thoughts above that makes it easy to see if a new work will be financially viable. The model will also help provide guidance in the steps to take and the plans to put in place.

The good news is that with good planning and a robust financial model, much of the uncertainty surrounding finances can be eliminated with a clear financial plan emerging to make planting new works affordable and financially sustainable and to bring clarity about how to raise the finance to plant a church.

Contact me if you would like more information.

Tim O’Neill