Objections to the Christian Faith from the Unchurched and De-Churched
Tue Dec 02, 2014
Craig Groeschel: We Innovate for Jesus
Tue Oct 14, 2014
Mark Driscoll: Revelation
Tue Oct 07, 2014
RESURGENCE LEADERSHIP #034: JOHN PIPER, WHY I TRUST THE SCRIPTURES, PART 2
Tue Sep 30, 2014
Resurgence Leadership #033: John Piper, Why I Trust the Scriptures, Part 1
Tue Sep 23, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 10: Raising Funds
One of the most important tasks when replanting a church is something almost all church planters dislike: raising funds.
When we replanted Mars Hill Federal Way (now Mars Hill Tacoma), we purchased a building to relocate the church to a more central location in our region. But we needed to raise $700,000 to renovate our “new” 105-year-old home.
For some people, $700,000 might not seem like a lot of money, but for us it was (and still is) a crazy amount of money. We aren’t a wealthy congregation. We have a lot of young families and singles—some who struggle just to put food on the table. How were we going to raise this much money in a year?
I remember feeling crushed under the weight of needing to raise the money. I felt alone (though I knew I wasn’t). I was stressed out, worried, and didn’t sleep much. During that time, God grew my faith and taught me patience, perseverance, and the power of prayer. In the end, we raised $745,000 and were able to renovate our new home. It was and still is awesome.
In this article, I will share with you some experiences, struggles, and suggestions that I hope will help you raise funds for your church replant.
Admit you hate it, and then move on
I have a confession: I loathe raising money and leading fundraisers—and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. But why? Why do we hate talking about money and raising funds?
Money is a major idol. When you talk about money, it creates resistance in the hearts of people who worship money. When people can’t or don’t want to give up their idol, they fight to keep it. This can produce conflict in the church.
Money is a topic that brings up “fear of man” issues. Pastors want their people to like them. When they discuss money, it can frustrate and anger people. Pastors know this and don’t want their people to be upset with them, and this often deters them from talking about money.
Many people have worldly perceptions of church and money. When pastors talk about money, some people perceive them to be greedy or worse, trying to use people to get money for personal gain. And let’s be honest, over the years many pastors have done horrible things to gain money.
Now, ask yourself what your reason is. Admit that you hate talking about money and raising funds. Take a deep breath. And get over it. You have to let go of anything that would prevent you from being all-in on replanting your church.
Embrace hard work
Fundraising is hard work. It takes time, effort, and an initial investment of money to support the fundraising efforts. You have to be focused on the long-term vision if you are to sow a harvest worth reaping. Like a farmer, you will plant seeds, pick weeds, water the crops, and, when the time is right, work the harvest. Farmers don’t just throw seeds on the ground and walk away.
Admit that you hate talking about money and raising funds. Take a deep breath. And get over it.
At the start of our fundraising, we kicked it off with a vision night. I had high expectations that people would respond immediately and we would reach 25% of our goal in pledges. That didn’t happen, and I was greatly discouraged.
Shortly thereafter, a nine-year-old boy in our church named Peter had been saving up to get his pilot license. One Sunday, after what felt like the hundredth time I communicated the vision, he came up to me and said he wanted to help. He gave $55 and some change. It was all he had; it was a huge sacrifice. And God showed me that, for our church, he would meet our need through the small sacrifices of a large number of faithful people.
Fundraising is a process that God will use to grow you as a pastor and to teach God’s people how to be faithful and how to be family.
Build a plan
You cannot wing it when it comes to fundraising. (You can try, but if you do you will likely fail.) You need a plan.
Like any good football coach, before you go on the field, you have a playbook. While the game is going on, you reference the playbook to keep the team focused, make plays, and hopefully win the game. Your plan should include:
A clear purpose. Why are you doing it? Do you need a building or need to remodel a building? Maybe there is a critical staff position that needs to be filled?
A fundraising goal and timeline. How much money do you need to raise and by when do you need it? Set dates for events and milestones to meet along the way. Build into this plan time for people to pray and respond.
A compelling story. If the funds are raised and the purpose fulfilled, what will it accomplish for your church and for Jesus’ name? Why is this story important? What happens if it’s not accomplished?
A marketing strategy to share the story. How will you communicate your message to the church? Will there be slides, posters, handouts, or mailers? If so, what will it be and why?
A follow-up plan. How will you follow up with people and give them opportunities to give? Be sure to have clear instructions for how people are to contribute.
Fundraising is hard work. It takes time, effort, and an initial investment of money to support the fundraising efforts.
To earn people’s trust and financial support, you need to share your heart and your plan with them. They won’t care unless you help them care. Once they care, you need to ask them to help. I know you don’t want to ask them for anything, but you have to. If you don’t ask for help, no one will help.
Who should you ask to help?
Discuss fundraisers with your elders and deacons. Pray and fast together. Then make personal commitments to set the example and lead the church in giving.
Identify the top 25 givers in the church, and set up a meeting to share the vision with each one of them and ask them to pray about contributing. Give them a specific amount to pray about. Then follow up with them to see how they can help.
Identify the top 26–100 givers and invite them to small-group gatherings to hear the vision and pray together. Then follow up with each of them and see how they can help.
Have a vision night and invite all the leaders, members, and regular attenders of the church to hear the vision and pray together. Then ask them to help. Give them time to pray about the opportunity and pledge a contribution, and then implement your follow-up plan.
After you reach 60% of your giving goal, share the vision with the entire church body and invite everyone who hasn’t yet contributed to help. Provide a way for them to give directly to the fundraising campaign.
To earn people’s trust and financial support, you need to share your heart and your plan with them.
Pray and share the answers
Along the journey, you will feel alone and afraid at times. You may even experience spiritual attack. This is normal.
Remember, your heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matt. 6:8), so get on your knees, pray diligently, and ask your heavenly Father to provide. Then share evidences of God’s gracious provision. Peter’s gift of $55.00 was an answer to prayer and a huge encouragement. Another church in our city stepped in at a discouraging time and hosted an event for us—this was another answer to prayer and evidence of his grace.
The church needs to hear these stories. Fundraising is not just about raising money; it provides an opportunity for people to learn how Jesus matures and builds his church through the sacrificial giving of his people.
This is part of an ongoing series on How to Replant a Church.