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Fundraising Lie #2: “God will provide the funds for this vision.”

July 18, 2012

Fundraising is a huge challenge for every church planter.  This is part 2 of a 4-part series about different lies we tell ourselves when it comes to fundraising. (Read part 1 here.)

LIE #2: “God will provide the funds for this vision.”

On the surface, who wouldn’t agree with this statement?  It is very biblical and sounds faith-based.  And in the right context, I agree.  But the contrarian church planter recognized that this could be a façade for people to hide behind who don’t want to act wisely, or who God is putting the brakes on to plant.

Once you have figured out WHAT you need to raise to make this new church a reality, then go raise your funds.  And as fundraising is happening, it should be a validation of the vision.  Unfortunately, some people believe that god wants them to plant in spite of having proper funding.  So they push through with the vision, when it is clear the funds aren’t there.

This is the WHY: WHY should people give to this project?  (Or maybe; why aren’t people giving to this project?)

When people aren’t giving to your new church it may be that you haven’t been yourself or you haven’t had a detailed enough budget or you haven’t asked enough people yet.  And it may be that fundraising is coming just a little short, in which case you need to re-adjust your budget to see if it will work.

But too many church planters have pushed through a vision that they couldn’t raise money for, and they end up with an unhealthy church and a failed vision, at best.  (And sometimes a miserable marriage and a broken relationship with God, at worst.)

Just a few miles from me is a church building that looks pretty impressive.  Well, it would look impressive to me if it were finished.  Obvious to everyone who drives by, this church began building a huge, multi-million dollar building on an expensive piece of property…but then ran out of money.  The parts that are finished look fantastic, but then you see plywood instead of a door, missing sidewalks, lack of pavement, wires hanging where lights should be, and it becomes obvious that their vision was bigger than their wallet.

It’s been said that our vision should drive our budget, and that is true.  But we must recognize that if there is no budget, God may be telling us “no” or he may be telling us “wait” for that particular vision.

I would love for our church to have much larger impact than we are.  I envision multiple campuses all over Maryland.  I envision starting other churches in Maryland and abroad.  I envision sending church planters all over the world.  And we have started to do those things in small ways.  But the reality is that we can’t afford to do all of those things full-scale right now.  Does that mean the vision is wrong?  Possibly.  Does it mean it’s wrong for right now?  Yes.

Don’t be the person Jesus talks about in Luke 14 who builds a building but doesn’t have enough money to finish it.  That’s what happened with the church around the corner from me, and it’s given the entire church in Maryland a bit of a black eye.

How do you balance a big vision with financial planning wisdom?

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