Church Planting, Uncategorized

Funding Your Church Plant: The Right People Should Pay for It… And It’s Not the Pastor’s Kids

Financial-Stress

I occasionally coach church planters, and there is a common denominator between all of them.

They are underpaid.

Shocker, eh?

Nondenominational planters especially are underpaid because they often lack the deep pockets of denominational funders. Unfortunately, some denominations underfund plants, as well, not realizing that an investment in effective planters will eventually result in far more denominational growth and funding.

On top of these challenges, it is very difficult for pastors to raise funds from the new church’s launch team, because so many people in our culture parrot cliches about pastors being in it for the money. Contrary to 30-year old cultural memes still justified by the unethical actions of 1980s televangelists, most pastors are not even close to being in it for the money. Similar to schoolteachers, most pastors are grossly overworked and underpaid.

So, an inspired, idealistic, well-intentioned (and naive) pastor goes out into the field to start something that brings hope to lots of people, totally unmotivated by money. She sacrifices, works long hours, spends less time with family than she wants, inspires people, and pulls a new church together. She tends to downplay her own needs, while the growing congregation appreciates her dedication but is unaware of the daily financial pressure she feels.

Then, after a few years of struggling to pay the pills, she is forced into a another line of work to make ends meet. The church can’t even hire a successor because they don’t pay a competitive salary and never have.

Like everything else in life, the truth is that someone will have to pay for the new church. Every pastor has a right to earn a fair, honest living, and any congregation that wants to be viable has the responsibility to fund it.

If, as a planting pastor, you struggle to ask for a raise or to believe that your family deserves for you to be paid fairly, here are a couple of questions for you:

1. Should the financial obligations of a church be spread across the whole congregation, or should they be placed squarely upon your family?

In other words, which is easier, for everyone in a 100 person congregation to give $5 more per week (which adds up to $26,000 per year), or for your kids to have less than they need because you are underpaid by $26,000 per year?

Compensating a pastor fairly is actually a small sacrifice if the expense is shared by the congregation. Either the congregation pays the bills or the pastor’s kids do. It’s one or the other.

What if you don’t have children?

You probably will someday, and they will be affected by the financial decisions you make now.

2. How would the people in your congregation respond if they actually knew the financial toll the plant takes on you, and if you’re married, the toll it takes on your marriage?

They would probably feel embarrassed and immediately take steps to pay you adequately. If not, then it might be time to leave and let them face reality.

If they simply had more information about the average compensation for pastors, they might make it right far more quickly than you think. Perhaps Googling “pastor compensation guide” and sharing it with your elders or church board would be a good first step. Or perhaps you could invite a church planting coach or consultant to talk with your board and speak the truths you find it difficult to say. They are probably more open to reality than you realize.

Whichever you choose, remaining underpaid until you no longer can is not an option. It will simply ruin your financial future, and you will eventually leave the church because you have no choice. Your congregation will then realize that they have to give the pastor who follows you a massive raise just to be competitive, and they will probably wish they would have done more to help you.

It’s better to be humbly honest now and let them know what you need. The right people should pay for your church plant… all of the people in it.

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Leadership, Pastors

OpenMindedChurch.org

Open Minded Church With the help of a growing network of church leaders, I put together a new website at openmindedchurch.org.

Because the church I pastor, One Church, live streams our services and uploads on sermons on Youtube, I frequently receive the same question from various parts of the country, “Do you know of any churches like One Church in my area?

Most of the time I don’t, so I decided to ask some friends to compile a growing database of forward-thinking Christian churches with contemporary worship music around the country.

In a few weeks, we’ve created a directory of 66 churches in 22 states. We know, however, that there are many more out there. For example, Doug Pagitt believes that there are potentially up to 200 contemporary, progressive congregations in the U.S.

Let’s find them and connect them! You can visit the continually expanding directory at openmindedchurch.org. If you know of a contemporary, open-minded church in your area where thinking people are encouraged to wrestle with their questions and doubts, please submit the church.

Thank you.

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Church Planting, Leadership, Pastors, Uncategorized

Church Planters and Pastors: Are You Welcoming New Residents?

United Van Lines 2014 Migration

United Van Lines, the moving company, just released it’s 38th annual domestic migration study (how many people move in and out of each state).

The map shows the states where people are moving to and from.

The old church growth theory goes that churches grow fastest in places that are growing fastest. On paper, since some percentage of new residents are looking for a church, if you’re church is there and welcoming, it will grow just because of the influx.

If you’re a church planter or pastor in those blues states, more people are moving to your state than out, so it would be wise to creatively welcome new residents. Some potential ways to do that:

  • Send new residents a welcome packet in the mail.
  • Provide lots of user-friendly entry points into the church, especially for people who are looking for new friends.
  • Provide groups for all ladies and moms.
  • Don’t shut down your church ministries in the summer (that’s when many people move).
  • Create fellowship activities.
  • Offer a sermon series on adjusting to new circumstances (stepping out on faith, seeing opportunities, adjusting to sudden change, making new friends, etc.)

Obviously, churches reach people all over the country by loving people in a way that is relevant to their ministry context. And, of course, new residents move into every state, so there are always new people arriving in your area. Showing hospitality is a biblical value.

Church planters, however, should be aware of growth trends for the simple fact that more churches will be needed in the growing states just to keep up with the growth.

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My Sermons, Pastors, Preaching, Sermon Illustrations, Sermons and Sermon Series Ideas, Uncategorized

What Is Love? (Baby, don’t hurt me…)

This is the first sermon from the series I’m currently teaching at One Church, Love.Sex.Marriage. It’s entitled, “What Is Love?” (Sing it with me: “Baby, don’t hurt me…”)

During the sermon I quote from two great marriage resources, The Zimzum of Love by Rob and Kristen Bell and Love to Stay by Adam Hamilton.

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My Sermons, Pastors, Preaching, Sermon Illustrations

Marriage Resources

Slide21

During the sermon series Love.Sex.Marriage., I’m sharing relationship resources with the One Church congregation.

Two excellent marriage resources are The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage by Rob and Kristen Bell and Love to Stay: Sex, Grace, and Commitment by Adam Hamilton.

Zimzum contains study questions in the back of the book, and Love to Stay has a companion DVD curriculum and study guide.

I think either resources would make a great small group study or would help any couple have a closer, richer marriage.

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My Sermons, Preaching, Sermon Illustrations, Sermons and Sermon Series Ideas, Uncategorized

Love.Sex.Marriage.

Love Sex Marriage Bling 960

Today, I started a new sermon series at One Church entitled Love.Sex.Marriage.

There are three big “back to church” times of the year- 1) Christmas Eve/January, 2) Easter-Mother’s Day, and 3) August-October (Back to School).

These are natural times of the year for unchurched and dechurched people to visit a church service. To give new people extra incentive to visit during these three times of the year, I schedule a sermon series that appeals to a top-of-mind felt-need.

For this January, I scheduled the series Love.Sex.Marriage. The series will last 7 weeks, longer than usual for the sermon series I create, but the topic is always relevant. One Church has a more holistic approach to sexuality than many of the churches in our area, so hopefully those who hear the sermons will gain a new, refreshing take on sexuality, guilt, dating, making a marriage work, etc.

One Church sermons are available for free download at http://onechurch.com/all-sermons/.

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