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Don’t Over-spiritualize Money

July 6, 2012

This is the first of 4 posts that will deal with areas that Contrarian Church Planters know they can’t over-spiritualize.

When you ask many church planters how they will fund their new church the response is often, “we are going to trust God.” They say, “If it is the Lord’s will, it is the Lord’s bill!”  That’s interesting.

Do you remember that YouTube video from auto-tune the news about the bed intruder?  One of his sweet lines is: “We got your t-shirt and you done left fingerprints and all you are so dumb. You are really dumb!”  When people tell me their entire funding plan is to “trust God” I want to put on a bandana and sing, “That is so dumb!”

I know that sounds mean and judgmental, but this is the contrarian’s guide to church planting.  And hang with me, because Jesus is on my side!  Jesus says that if you are going to build something you sit down and figure out what it will cost, because if you start construction and don’t have the money to finish, everyone will alugh at you.  Unfortunately, too many church plants have been funded with little or no money and it ends up making the church fail, the senior pastor doubt himself, the launch team feel guilty, the lost stay lost, and the pastor’s wife disgruntled.

I know of a church planter in Virginia that was sent from a large, growing church with a grand total of $50,000 to launch.  The problem was that was all he had, and they wanted him to launch a full scale, quality Sunday morning service. That church set him up to fail…and he did.  The church is now closed and the planter makes a living by working at a cell phone kiosk in the mall.

The problem is we have all heard these amazing stories of a church that didn’t know how it was going to make it week to week and somehow God provided in an amazing way, and now that is a self-supporting, growing, huge church.

That makes for a great story at a conference.  It makes for a horrible pattern after which to model your church.  Remember: just because God HAS acted that way doesn’t mean he WILL act that way.

Instead of blind faith, we need to ask, “What is the wise thing to do?”  When it comes to finances, we need to test the waters of fundraising, and set different parameters:

  • We’ll decide to plant only when we have X dollars committed.
  • We’ll move to the location of the plant once we have X dollars in the bank.
  • I’ll only work part time for the church until our weekly income is X.

Don’t overspiritualize money. In ministry money is like gas in the car, the more you have the further it goes, without it you will be pushing!  It takes money to do ministry.  If you don’t have the money, you can’t do the ministry.  Be wise with finances!

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