I recently read an article about funding a church plant that suggested a starting budget of £100,000.
I have nothing against well-funded church plants (and if any donors are reading, a cheque for £100,000 would be pretty sweet), but if we only plant churches when we have a spare £100k knocking around, then we are not going to get very much done at all.
The truth is, church planting is not as expensive as some people suggest. Here are a few things you can cut from your budget:
A Fancy Website – It’s good to have a web presence, but spending thousands of pounds on it from day one is not necessary. Your time online is better spent building contacts and engaging with people through social media anyway.
The Perfect Venue – You need somewhere for your church plant to meet, and you probably need to go public a bit sooner than you think you do. What you don’t need is a 500 seat auditorium. There are plenty of venues out there that are cheap and that are well suited to the early stages of a church plant. If you think creatively, you might just find one. (Read Tim tell the story of getting the upstairs room of a vodka bar for £20)
Marketing – You don’t need billboards. You don’t need TV time. You don’t need full page spreads in the national newspapers. A few flyers will probably serve you well, but most people join church plants because of relationships, not because they have seen great ads.
You – The biggest drain on the budget of most church plants is the church planter themselves. When there are just 6 of you, you probably don’t need to work for the church full time. A day a week may be financially viable, but any more than this is almost certainly unnecessary in the early stages.
When you eliminate these 4 elements, the financial cost of church planting becomes much more manageable and makes space for more important things.
Here are three things we recommend every church plant invests in.
The Poor – Build generosity into the fabric of the church from day one.
A Starbucks Card – Or whatever coffee shop you are into. A massive part of what you are doing is building relationships, so you will be spending a lot of time taking people out to get to know them (and hopefully persuade them to join you).
A Good Barbecue – You want to be able to use your home as a hub and gather lots of people together. Buying a good barbeque means you get great community in your church plant and great meat on your plate. Double win.