How to Nourish a Church Plant

Planters of new worshiping and Christ-following communities begin with high hopes.  They envision people showing up to hear the Holy Scripture, breaking bread together, encouraging one another to do good works, and inviting others into the kingdom of God.  All of this may one day happen.  Some church plants sprout and keep growing, yet others never seem to find the traction they need and just don’t make it.  The root systems of some new communities aren’t strong and deep enough to enable their flourishing.

Why don’t the roots expand and deepen for some church plants?  I’ve found that there are several causes:  1) Not enough people show up.  2) Not enough people come back.  3) Not enough people are committed.  4)  There is a lack of leadership.  And I can cite others, but I’ve found that the one often overlooked cause to think about and do something about is:  The lack of giving.  In the last year alone, story after story has reached my attention of church plants shutting down due to a lack of funding.

What can you as a church-planter do to care for the root system of generosity?

1)       Create a master-plan.  If you are part of a denominational church-plant, the denomination may give you some guidance on what funding goals you need to achieve and when.  They may also provide you with some resource development tips.  If so, be grateful for all of the guidance you can absorb.  Ask additional questions.  Map out a years’ worth of financial development strategies and action steps.  This is what development professionals do, so follow their lead.

2)      Create a master-planning guidance team of fundraisers.  Since giving is what you need, spend some time with those experienced in developing generosity.  Who do you know that raises funds for a living and is a disciple of Jesus?  I have met many of these kinds of people within congregations.  You probably know a lot of these people as well.  Find them.  Ask two or three of them to join you for breakfast or lunch. Share your vision with them and ask them for pointers.  They can help you create your master-plan, and more than likely, will be willing to help you with this.  You will be surprised how many people will be willing to give you good advice if you are bold enough to ask for it.  And you are essentially asking these people to share their gifting with the church, which will in turn bless them in their journey.

3)      Don’t be afraid.  Talking about giving, preaching on the topic of generosity, and asking for generosity can produce a great amount of fear in the most talented of church planters.  “Don’t be afraid” is a common command in the Holy Scripture.  Angels shared this with the recipients of their message.  So did Jesus.  Hear these words:  Don’t be afraid.  Don’t fear asking for money.  Your root system needs generosity.  Ask for it again and again.

What does your resource development master-plan look like?  Do you have a 1-month or a 1-year plan?  Who do you know that can help you create a plan to deepen your plant’s root system?   What step can you take today to help you break through the fear of resource development ministry?  Remember, in doing the work of ministry, we deepen our own relationship with God.

Go and do the work.

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