Passion for Planting equips leaders to plant churches that plant churches. We walk alongside pastors as they're knee deep in the planning process. We've learned some tips and tricks that might be helpful as you start on your own journey to launch.
As most church planters know, the pre-launch phase is not only the time to develop good systems and processes for the church, but it's also when you should begin shaping your church's culture. That's why we encourage church planters to foster a culture of generosity in their churches, long before launch Sunday.
How do we do that? We developed a software project management tool called PlanterPlan to keep our planters focused on the right tasks at the right time. One church planter put it into perspective, "PlanterPlan brought my vision from the clouds to the calendar."
PlanterPlan is a sequentially ordered checklist covering every pre-launch detail, from church compliance and legal paper work to developing a discipleship strategy and a leadership pipeline. Initially, the task list, which is over 400 tasks long, can seem a bit overwhelming. However, over time, leaders learn to appreciate the checklist as they see how it keeps their project on track and moving forward in the right direction.
Fostering a Culture of Generosity
One task is "Plan Financial Stewardship Training for Launch Team." If a planter wants to complete this task, he must train his team to support the ministry of the new church financially. We schedule this task to appear in the early stages of the pre-launch phase. The reason for this is because we believe that generosity must be cultivated within the DNA of the launch team in order for it to be ingrained into the culture of the church. During the pre-launch phase, the church's culture is like wet cement. Church planters need to take advantage of this and impress upon their team the power of generosity, early and often.
We know what you're probably thinking...
But our church doesn't even have regular services!
One reason many church planters don't encourage giving is because they aren't holding regular worship services during which they can collect the offering.
What about a fianance team? We definitely don't have one of those...
Many also don't have a finance team in place who can count money and make sure it goes to the church's bank account and not someone's pocket.
Our church isn't a 501(c)(3) yet!
The third, and probably most common, pushback we hear is that many pastors aren't sure if they can receive tax-deductible donations if they aren't a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation yet.
Here's the reality:
- Generosity and giving should be a part of your everyday life, not relegated to Sunday mornings.
- You do need solid financial accountability and tracking processes in place. Keep in mind that resources flow to trust. But, this may or may not take the form of a finance team.
- Your church doesn't need to be a 501(c)(3) organization to receive tax-deductible donations, but you do need to be incorporated at the state level (Passion for Planting can help!).
The bottom line is that these hesitations shouldn't hinder your church plant from asking your launch team to give to their new church. Convinced yet? Try putting into practice some of our fundraising/financial tips.
7 Fundraising Tips and Best Practices
- Offer financial training seminars to the launch team and invite your community. We like Financial Peace University, Good Sense, and Crown Financial.
- Obtain donor management software to keep track of gifts. Church Community Builder and Elexio are a couple of our favorites.
- Establish a way for donors to give to your church online and via text. Giving services, like Kindrid, come in really handy, especially when you don't have regular services with a physical offering plate. Using Kindrid, a new church plant can receive gifts online or by text and never touch a penny. Their text and online platform collects the gifts, counts and tracks them, and provides detailed giving statements and reports on demand.
- Never send gifts to the church planter's residence or ask for them to be made payable to an individual. This maintains financial accountability and establishes trust.
- Send givers thank you notes for sizable gifts. Your givers need to know you value their contributions.
- Send out monthly newsletter to givers. Show your givers the impact of the ministry they're supporting!
- Provide givers with end of year giving statements. By providing year-end giving statements, you're expediting givers' tax process and reminding them how much they contributed to bringing your church's vision to life.
If you're a church planter, don't wait until after launch to encourage a culture of generosity at your church. Giving is an act of worship and every church's launch team should be given the opportunity to worship through their giving as they prepare to be an expression of God's love and generosity in their community.
Launch team members wouldn't be on the team if they hadn't already bought into the vision of the church. Don't sell them short by asking them to wait until later to give. Provide your launch team with the opportunity to support your church's ministry before it launches. By doing so, you'll give them an opportunity to see God work through their generosity and lives changed as a result.