I always thought that it was unspiritual to think that I needed money to plant churches. I prided myself that I didn’t need a building and office space (I still don’t have these things). There is wisdom in keeping it simple. I choose to use the money that we raise where it is most fruitful, and that is investing resources in the right leaders and in the church plants themselves. Money was not a thought of mine for years, other than raising funds for my family. That all changed when I wasn’t fruitful at planting churches! I realized that I needed a full-time multicultural team in order to reach multiple people groups. Once we had those team members, things started to take off.
Because we have a full time multicultural team, we are seeing fruit when it comes to church planting, but that doesn’t mean that other people have been eager to try to create one. Most people who I encounter are willing to raise the money for themselves (the typical model for missionaries), but most are not eager to raise the money needed to hire people who might actually do the job better because of less cross-cultural barriers. The normal thinking is this…Build a team who can more easily raise their own funds and train lay people and cultural insiders to do the church planting. Our ministry certainly trains lay people and cultural insiders from different people groups, but what we saw is that it is extremely difficult for people with other full time jobs to start and oversee a multiplying church planting process. Again, we need to ask the question, “What is it going to take?” The answer for us meant raising funds to build a multicultural team by hiring catalytic church planters who could reach certain people groups. After many years of trying to start a Church Planting Movement by trying to find and train people with full time jobs to start and oversee a movement, we’ve learned that the effort and time spent raising funds profoundly outweighs the burden of not seeing any movement started.
It took many years for me to make the decision to try and expand our budget. I simply didn’t want the hassle. I didn’t want the burden. I didn’t like fundraising. There is this misconception that CPM’s (Church Planting Movements) do not cost money and this was definitely what I thought. It wasn’t until I met with many higher level people experienced in CPM’s who have planted hundreds or thousands of churches, and I asked many of them directly, “Do you need money for CPMs?” and “Can you plant more churches in more places with more money?” The answer every-time was yes and yes!
I have seen an unwillingness in people to raise funds for various reasons and I was one of them, but we need to raise money not only for missions but also because it is part of our calling to challenge believers to give. Yes we should help people start self-supporting businesses but that doesn’t mean we need to negate fundraising. The church body needs to be challenged. Every church planter knows that only a very small percentage of giving goes to missions and it is minuscule compared to the money that it costs to have buildings and the internal operations of our churches and ministries. Every church and every believer needs to challenged. Do we care about missions? Do we care about people’s souls? What is it going to take to reach people? As church planters, we don’t have the right to challenge pastors for not encouraging their churches to reach people and give to missions if we ourselves are not going to take part in challenging others to give. We have to be as bold in our asking for money and challenging believers to give to missions as we are bold in reaching the souls of the unreached.
We will be posting a series, “Church Planting Lessons”, so watch out for those or follow our blog. Thanks!