While the church is not about money, it takes money to plant a church and sustain effective ministry within a community.  One of the top 8 barriers to effective church plants is simply that they have insufficient resources to really make an impact within their community.  How much money a church planter needs to launch varies from city to city and planter to planter.  But, regardless of setting, planting a church with insufficient resources is like trying to drive from New York to California on a half tank of gas.  I don't care how ecconomic your gas milage is...you're still gonna run out of gas before you reach your destination.

One of the criteria that is often overlooked in church planting is the pastor's ability to raise adequate resources to fund their plant.  Planters often assume as long as they've got a great team, a great location, and God's blessing that they can succeed without adequate funding.  Unfortunately, I've learned this lesson the hard way.

This past year we launched a campus of BridgeWay in a nearby town.  We had a great leader, a great team, a great (but too expensive) location, and what we thought were "just enough" funds to support the work there.  We were wrong.  Thankfully, most church planting mistakes are not fatal, and this one wasn't either...but it has forced us to plan our financial systems more carefully before we set sail with our next campus or church plant.

So what can a planter do to ensure that lack or resources doesn't become a breaking point for their church plant?

1. Accept responsibility for funding the mission of your church plant.  Too many Lead Pastors refuse to accept the responsibility for the financial integrity and stewardship of the church.  Pastor, it is your job to ensure the mission is well funded and people are being discipled in all areas of their spiritual growth...that includes financial stewardship.
2. Refuse to launch until you've met your funding milestones.  Did you budget to raise $70,000 to fund the launch of your church, but have only raised $30,000?  Don't launch until you've met your milestone.
3. Don't expect a bailout.  Too many planters are looking for a handout from a denominational partner or network, but haven't displayed the ability to develop a strong giving base.  Now why would a partner want to invest in someone with no track record of casting vision and developing an existing giving base?  A good rule of thumb is to expect to raise 70% of your budget outside of denominational partnerships.
4. Develop all potential sources.  There are dozens of ways you can develop the start-up funds needed to launch a church.  Here are just a few: your launch team, your friends & family, writing vision letters, making the big ask, bi-vocational ministry, parent church partnership, partner churches, "deputation" services, online, e-mail, and a whole bunch of others...
5. Check your motive.  Is your desire to fund your vision, or is it to help the people who are giving accomplish their purpose in this world.  Here's a secret, your plant is not for you...it's there to impact a community and move people towards God's purposes for their lives.
6. Set two goals.  Set a goal for pre-launch funds needed, and for post-launch expenses for continued operations.  Too many plants can get out of the box, but have to go back in the box because of lack of operational funds...learned this one the hard way.
7. Create a campaign.  Call it something..."The Revolution"..."Advance"..."Makin' Noise"...whatever, but call it something that speaks to your vision and mission.  Then use that campaign to rally support.
8. Create a simple website.  This is not a website for your plant, but for your campaign.  Buy a domain, create a blog/website, provide updates, communicate vision, provide opportunity to give online.
9. Create some print pieces.  Yes this cost money, but you need something tangible to give people that communicates vision and moves them to action.
10. Create a "baby registry" for your baby church.  This makes giving tangible.  Some people prefer to give items rather than cash.  Also this makes the numbers tangible. 
11. Get off your "tail" and get out there.  If you're not willing to work hard to fund the mission and vision, and to help people develop their gifts of stewarship you should probably consider doing something else.

Thanks to Casey Graham at The Change Group for some of the ideas presented in this post...if you're a pastor you should really check out his group!

So what are some other things that a planter might do to make sure that lack of resources doesn't become a barrier to effective ministry?

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