How to Fund Your Ministry Vision

What’s the ONE subject almost no church leader enjoys talking about?

Yep. Money.

Talking about money feels icky. Asking for money makes us feel like we’re begging. So we tiptoe. We skirt around the issue, assuming that taking a softer and more silent approach will earn us good will with people.

And to be sure, being soft or silent about giving and money will win us points with some people – especially people who don’t want to be challenged to grow in generosity and discipleship.

And that’s the problem.

Part of the mission of making disciples is teaching people to be more like Jesus. And Jesus was and is a Giver. In fact, God is THE Giver of all givers. Remember John 3:16?

If you’re a Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor, or any kind of stewardship specialist or administrative leader within your church, you need to get more comfortable talking about money with the congregation.

Here’s why…

  • It’s a discipleship issue. People grow spiritually as they learn to loosen their grip on earthly possessions and sacrificially invest in something bigger and more eternal than what they see in the here and now.
  • It’s a stewardship issue. Challenging people to give helps people to direct their funds into something that has a long term (eternal) payoff instead of more stuff that fades away.
  • It’s a vision issue. If you believe in what God has called your church to do, then you must believe that God’s means of supporting and supplying it is through the generosity of his people.
  • It’s an empowerment issue. Tons of people are not giving up to their potential because they simply haven’t been invited to do so with any kind of compelling invitation at all.

Our church is in the middle of a move. As I write this, we’re in the home stretch of a construction project. We purchased a building and we’re remodeling it into a meeting space so we can move out of our leased facility.

When we announced the decision to move, we knew we needed funds to do so. Even though the monthly cost to service our new debt was about the same as our rent payment, we needed quite a bit of capital to make the purchase and then do the building and finishing out of the space.

So we asked God to provide at least $250,000 in addition to our regular giving, which amounted to about 40% of our annual budget.

I’d never made an ask that large of our congregation – or any other I’d led for that matter. Obviously, plenty of leaders have successfully raised far more, but for our seven-year-old church, it was a rather significant goal.

And to brag on my church for a second, THEY DID IT! (And I’m extremely proud of them, to say the least!)

With one day left in the 2018 calendar year, we surpassed our goal! And people are still giving toward the move.

In the first five years of our church’s life, we transitioned from 100% of our budget being met by outside supporters to 100% being met by the tithes and offerings of our members. We’ve been able to send missionaries, support other church plants, train and support church planting teams, serve our community, and carry on all of the ministry that happens within our church family on a weekly basis as well.

Over those seven years, I’ve learned a few big lessons – some of them the hard way – about how to raise funds to support ministry and missions.

Here are a few of my top tips…

Handle Money with Integrity

Our financial record-keeping is outsourced to Belay Solutions. We receive offerings and make the deposits, then Belay steps in and manages our funds and our budgets, reconciles our statements, and handles our payroll, taxes, and reporting.

We work hard to comply with all laws and maintain high ethical standards so that people can give with greater confidence.

Help People Get Unstrapped

People feel way better about giving when they aren’t financially strapped. And part of our role in presenting the wisdom and power of scripture is addressing the most personal and vital of personal areas of life, including personal finances.

In the middle of our big season of fundraising, I taught a series of messages called UnStrapped, designed to help people apply biblical wisdom to getting out of debt, saving more, and becoming more generous. It’s hard to ask people to give before we’ve offered this kind of spiritual help.

Lead by Example

One of the coolest moments, for me, was being able to announce that our staff (whose livelihoods are connected to the giving of our congregation) were giving 15% of our big goal themselves.

Tithing and generosity are part of our culture, and they’re part of a commitment staff members make at the outset of becoming part of the Grace Hills team. It’s part of our staff covenant because we believe in leading by example.

Share a Big Vision

The Bible is clear about at least one thing – our dreams are almost always too small. Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever!” (NLT)

Whatever you think God can do, it’s always, always more. Every time I see God come through, I realize just how small my vision actually is.

Value Everyone’s Contribution

Some people gave tens of thousands of dollars toward our big goal, but the offerings that broke my heart were usually about $5, given by single moms and widows and people with fixed incomes or no incomes at all, but who wanted to be a part of what God was doing.

I know there are various opinions among pastors about how to challenge “large donors,” but I continue to have the conviction that we must truly, deep in our hearts, value every single contribution. Yes, some people need to be challenged to give large amounts because God has entrusted them with much, but never fail to appreciate the magnitude of someone with almost nothing, sharing it because they love Jesus and his church.

Celebrate Generosity Openly

Over time, we become what we celebrate. The primary task of a leader, long term, is creating a healthy culture. And part of having a healthy church culture is celebrating the giving of God’s people.

Raise Faith, Not Just Funds

There’s a big difference between asking people to give money to meet the church’s financial needs and asking people to stretch their faith and give because they need to grow spiritually. We don’t just raise funds for the church. We raise funds for those who will give, and who will grow as a result of their giving.

It’s always about stewardship and discipleship. I’m moved that our church gave and met the need. I’m even more moved that so many people were thrilled to be part of what God was doing.

I believe that our church is just now beginning to witness such miracles, and many more are to come in our future. Ultimately, what delights me most is that we’re on the same page when it comes to the mission of reaching more people who need the light and hope of the good news of Jesus Christ!

Read more from Brandon.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox has been a Pastor for fifteen years and is currently planting a church in northwest Arkansas, a Saddleback-sponsored church. He also serves as Editor of Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders (brandonacox.com). He's also the author of Rewired: Using Technology to Share God's Love.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Good Doctrine Demands We Teach About Money

As a Pastor, I’m well aware of how many people have the assumption that “all Pastors want to talk about is money.” The funny thing is, after twenty years in ministry and communicating regularly with thousands of pastors, I can firmly assert that talking about money is one of our least favorite things to do, especially in our culture where personal finances are very… personal.

But the Apostle Paul wrote to a younger Pastor in Ephesus named Timothy once and told him to “Teach and urge these things… there is great gain in godliness with contentment… but those who desire to be rich fall into temptation… for the love of money is the root of all evil… As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches.” (1 Timothy 5:2-17 ESV)

In other words, good doctrine (which literally means “teaching”) demands that we address the issue of money. Here are several reasons why the church NEEDS to talk about finances…

  • Money is a gift from God to be managed for a season, not an earned commodity to be consumed for pleasure alone.
  • How we use money is a matter of worship – it demonstrates our values and what is important to us.
  • It’s pretty obvious people NEED help in this area – we’re strapped and stressed because of terrible management.
  • Generosity is a key value of the Christian life, for the church and for the individual Christian.
  • Money needs to serve the needs of man and the causes of justice, rather than man serving under the tyranny of money.
  • Money makes missions happen, which is God’s chief business and area of concern – the spread of the gospel deserves to be resourced.

If you don’t want the church to teach about money because it’s “none of their business,” you should change the way you see it. Nobody in the church (at least not my church) wants to see your budget or bank statements. We simply want to help people get healthy financially and become generous with our resources so that everyone experiences God’s blessings. In other words, my church doesn’t want something from you, we want something for you.

I’m really just scratching the surface here. There is much more to be said about the role of giving and stewardship in discipleship. What did I miss?

> Read more from Brandon.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Resourcing >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox has been a Pastor for fifteen years and is currently planting a church in northwest Arkansas, a Saddleback-sponsored church. He also serves as Editor of Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders (brandonacox.com). He's also the author of Rewired: Using Technology to Share God's Love.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.