Fundraising. One of the more uncomfortable aspects of planting a church. When the church I planted 5 years ago (HighView Church) met for the first time we collected $250 in our offering…needless to say, fundraising was an essential task for me as a planting pastor. I’ve seen tremendous fruit come from my fundraising efforts while also making my fair share of mistakes along the way. Here are 3 things I’ve learned about church plant fundraising over the past 5 years
Commit to building relationships
One of the biggest mistakes church planters make in fundraising is focusing more on “checks received” than “relationships built”. In my experience, great church partners want to feel connected to the church plant they are supporting on a deeper level than their checkbook. Some of HighView’s partners did not start supporting our plant financially right out of the gate. They began as prayer partners, sent volunteers or provided other practical assistance and only later on decided to support us financially. Commit yourself to building healthy, God-honoring relationships with other local churches, whether they support you financially or not and your church plant will be better for it.
Focus on doctrinal and mission alignment when looking for partners
When looking for financial partners many church planters I’ve coached have a fairly broad approach to securing new partnerships. While this “more is more” strategy has it’s advantages, I have found that finding the right partners is better than finding the most partners. When looking for financial partners look for churches that are aligned with your church plant doctrinally. Look for churches that share your church plant’s vision for what a local church should do and be. These kinds of relationships provide the best platform for fruitfulness over the long-term. The largest financial contributors to our fundraising efforts are those we are closest aligned with doctrinally and missiologically. I do not think that is a coincidence.
Provide regular updates
Many church planters are great at initiating relationships with other churches. But many struggle to maintain those relationships over the long haul. Out of sight, out of mind is usually the culprit. Church planters, be intentional about this. Send regular email updates, invite your supporting churches to visit your location etc. Look for ways to not only get other churches in engaged but look for ways to keep those partners engaged in the work that is happening in your church plant.