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Fundraising Lie #1: “We’ll learn to live below our means.”

July 16, 2012

Fundraising is a huge challenge for every church planter.  This is part 1 of a 4-part series about different lies we tell ourselves when it comes to fundraising.

LIE #1: “We’ll learn to live below our means.”

This is the WHAT.  WHAT is it going to cost to launch the type of church that is in your head?

Living below your means is sound biblical wisdom.  Every financial counselor teaches it.  The problem is that some church planters don’t take the time necessary to figure out exactly how much funds you need to launch.  So you set about your fundraising and vision casting, which you’re great at.  But the reality is you don’t know how much money it actually takes to fund your vision.

So you are counting on God to overcome your lack of attention to detail.  Even if you work extremely hard in fundraising, if you don’t know exactly WHAT it will cost to fund your church,

In addition, I believe by not figuring out WHAT it will cost to launch, you are selling God short.  Think about it: if you have a specific goal of money you are praying for and God gives that amount of money, then you can praise him for answering your need.  But if you just say, “God, give us whatever you want,” you can’t really praise him because 1) you won’t know when he’s answered that and 2) you’re not asking in faith anyway.

If you are not figuring out WHAT your church plant costs, it demonstrates a lack of faith in God to provide and a lack of wisdom to be a good steward.

I found in our fundraising that a handful of people were very interested in how we came up with our fundraising budget.  And when I met those people I’d pull out the excel spreadsheet and show them line-by-line how this money would be spent.  And when it happened, those people felt reassured in their giving because they knew it was going to a specific plan, and wouldn’t be wasted because there wasn’t a plan in place.

How have you learned–either through wisdom or experience–to plan to live on a budget?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2012 10:45 am

    I don’t make many friends when I say this, but I think that many times this line is code for “I don’t want to fundraise.” What amazes me the most about this is that if someone in our congregation came to us and said something contextually similar, we would be all over them about it. Learning to live below your means is not a switch you can flip, especially when you are about to enter into what is potentially the most stressful season of your ministry life. You will have enough stresses on you and your family, adding a financial stress to the mix because you feel uncomfortable asking people for money is just silly.

    This is one of those times I feel like the cranky old man in the neighborhood.


  1. Fundraising Lie #4: “I can move on from fundraising.” « The Contrarian Church Planter
  2. Fundraising Lie #3: “We will become self-supportive.” « The Contrarian Church Planter

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