The Big Questions: Money (Part 1 of 4)
by Rebecca Burtram
We launched Redemption Church Charlottesville eight weeks ago. It has been an awesome, terrifying, exciting, stressful, fun, and faith-growing process. I had so many questions when we first began the planting process, and many of them were answered through our experiences rather than through training. These are four of the main questions we asked ourselves:
- How do you raise enough money to plant a church?
- How do you build a team?
- How many people will show up to the launch?
- How many people will come back after the launch?
There is not one correct answer, but there are answers.
This four-part series of posts is geared to provide some insight to those who are preparing for their own launches. It’s my hope that other seasoned planters will chime in with their own comments as well.
Everyone’s experience is different, and the answers to the four biggest questions I had prior to planting vary for each planter.
First of all, the answers begin in knowing your own strengths and weaknesses. This will help you to recognize where you need God to show up in a big way, where you need to rely on others, and where you need to put in the sweat.
Rev. Ken Burtram, the Superintendent of the Potomac Ministry Network, has frequently talked about understanding the underlying issues in order to best address a need. I’ve heard him say, “You can’t pray away a systems issue and you can’t administer away a spiritual issue.”
We need to know when to fall on our faces before God and when to use the resources and abilities He has given us.
With these thoughts in mind, I share our experience in order to demonstrate how your own answers will combine your unique gifts and strengths, the work of others, and God’s divine provision.
Question 1: How do you raise enough money to plant a church?
My husband and I are not fundraisers, and we were terrified by the prospect of raising about $125,000. I have a hard time even hosting a jewelry party for friends who are in direct sales. Neither of us is particularly gifted in soliciting acquaintances and distant connections for funds.
We have known other planters who have cold called every church in a region, sent mailers to friends and family, and worked online fundraising sources. Those methods, although effective for many, did not match who Jon and I are.
We were dreading the process, and we knew we were not likely to be very effective using an approach that did not match our natural strengths.
We started with prayer, and God opened doors.
The first donation came as a huge surprise, and it helped us to see immediately that God would help to meet our need. A couple approached us on their own accord to make a $30,000 personal donation before we had asked a single person, church, or network for a dime.
We relied on God working on the hearts of other pastors and boards.
Jon was on staff at The Bridge Community Church in Warrenton, VA, and they provided just under $15,000 for us while they were in full swing of a capital campaign. Chapel Springs in Manassas, VA, the church my husband was raised in and the parent church of The Bridge, also gave us a donation. The Journey Church, a plant in Culpeper, VA made a donation when my husband simply met with the pastor to begin to connect with other planters. We were blown away by the generosity of other churches.
We used the resources available to us.
We are incredibly blessed to have resources such as the Church Multiplication Network, The Potomac Ministry Network, and the Lifehouse Network. All three of these larger networks have provided mentoring, administrative oversight, spiritual guidance, and financial assistance.
We put in the work.
Jon and I are highly relational people. We are both open and authentic, and this area of strength allowed us to develop a launch team. Although we were weak in the area of soliciting loose connections, we had no problem asking our team members to contribute to the church we were building together. We were able to meet our final budgeting needs as team members began to contribute.
Our launch budget was met through a combination of practical steps and miraculous provision.
When we attended both the ARC 2.0 and the CMN Launch trainings, I wanted a step-by-step how-to for raising the funds. Neither training event offered this, and now that I have walked through the process I understand why.
There is no single answer to the question of how to raise funds.
If you are preparing to launch, I highly recommend you look to the experiences of others, use the practical approaches that match your strengths, pray for provision, and connect to the amazing networks available to you.
Rebecca Burtram and her husband, Jonathan, are church-planting pastors at Redemption Church in Charlottesville, VA. They have been married for 13 years, and they are the parents of three children, ages 12, 10, and 8.
Rebecca graduated with top honors from Evangel University with a B.A. in Spanish Education and English. She also holds an English M.A. from the State University of New York at Cortland. Presently, she teaches Spanish at Albemarle High School, but her dream is to make writing and speaking her full time career. She blogs at rebeccaburtram.com and writes a weekly post for tworiversblog.com.
If you would like to write for the CMN Wives Blog, contact Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking for new contributors.