The Secret To Growing A Church With No Money
You want to know what I wish? I wish someone I knew played the lottery and won, and then tithed 10% to my church. Some people in the church world wouldn’t take that money, but I believe Jesus redeems all things. I’d baptize that money in the name of Jesus. Can I get a witness?
But seriously. Wouldn’t it be nice?
Money is one of the most sticky things when it comes to leading a church. If you talk about it too much people will say, “He’s all about the money.” If you don’t talk about it people won’t learn about the amazing privileges of giving back to God.
The fact is the mission of the local church is funded by the people.
So, what do you do when you don’t have the funding to do the ministry?
3 Keys To Growing A Church With Little To No Money
1. Find your passion and display it.
Passion costs nothing. Passion is contagious. Passion draws people in. Passion is free. Passion is attractive. Passion doesn’t have a line item. You don’t need money to become passionate.
In fact lots of money can actually snuff out ones passion. If you want to learn about this more watch the documentary Rocky III. Success led Rocky Balboa to lose the eye of the tiger. It’s one of my favorite documentaries of all time. I’m kidding about the documentary part.
As nice as it would be to have lots of money, the funding in and of itself is not the answer.
As the late great theologian, The Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”
Passion is so contagious and yet so often the local church lacks passion about the things that matter.
Your passion comes from what you value. When you display what you value others take notice.
Pastors should be the most passionate people on the planet. We get to point people to Jesus every day. We serve a God that rose from the dead. If Jesus rose from the grave our preaching should reflect that’s He’s no longer dead.
Not everyone shows passion the same way, but everyone is passionate about something.
If your church disappeared today how long would it take for the surrounding community to notice?
Passion causes people to notice.
The Church in Acts didn’t have a lot of money or resources. They didn’t have a building of their own. Add to that they were persecuted. And yet the numbers of the early Church grew rapidly. The people involved displayed it differently, but one thing each one had in common was passion. Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin was full of passion. Paul’s letters were full of passion. Jesus died, but is now alive. That’s worth sharing passionately.
Passion is attractive. Passionately preach, and teach about Jesus and people will take note. Don’t wait until you have a crowd of 500 or 1,000. Preach every week like there are 5,000 people in the room.
2. Work with what you do have.
It’s so easy to focus on what we don’t have. We all think we’d do more if we had more. The truth is that success doesn’t happen by accident. While we wait for the day to God deliver a lottery winner into our church someone else is out there killing it with a lot less resources than what we have.
Vision proceeds resources.
When you cast a compelling vision with passion and conviction the resources start to follow.
The vision isn’t more money. The vision is reaching people. Cast the vision to find the people who God is calling to do the work of the ministry.
My first job in ministry was at a mega church with a lot of resources. I ended up changing colleges and with that came working for a rural country church. I was told I had a $5k budget. I spent a little money and was called into a deacons meeting. I was told I didn’t have permission to spend the money. When I reminded them about my 5K budget they informed me I had to raise that money by doing a car wash. Um…
I vowed to not let money stop me. I had an amazing group of volunteers that bought into my crazy ideas. There are people in your church that can help you do whatever God is placing in your heart.
Do what you can do with excellence. Cast a compelling vision. Focus on Jesus and watch what happens.
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The God that inspired a little punk shepherd boy to battle a GIANT with nothing more than a sling shot is the same God that lives in you. Don’t focus on what everyone else has. Focus on what you do have and watch God use it.
What is it the you would do if you had more money? Recruit some people from within your church to help you pull it off now.
3. Communicate specific needs.
Finances are tough almost everywhere. It would be amazing if people gave financially simply because Jesus said to. Some will. But a lot will not. That doesn’t mean they aren’t generous.
This summer we had to spend 40K on new AC units and duct work. That number felt overwhelming.
After a few weeks of stressing over the amount I broke the number down. We are a five year old church plant that is averaging 400 people. If 270 of them would give $148 dollars we could pay cash for the new AC. Most people get paid twice a month. If 270 would commit $37 for four paychecks we would pay cash for the new AC.
All the sudden that giant number became very attainable. Within in a few weeks we had most of the money we needed.
Communicate the why + the specific amount and you’ll find a lot of people that get on board. Not only that but some will keep giving because they now see how God uses their finances to fund the mission.
If you haven’t read it I highly recommend reading, When Your Church Feels Stuck by Chris Sonksen. He has an amazing chapter on the excuses that keep us from winning.
The truth is you can have growth or you can have excuses, but you can’t have both. You can have progress or you can have excuses, but you can’t have both. Excuses are polished off lies that make us feel comfortable with where we are at. The truth is nothing comes easy.
Not having money stinks, but it shouldn’t stop us from dreaming big. The God of the universe owns the cattle on a thousand hillsides. Not having resources should draw us to our knees to passionately seek God. It may seem impossible for you, but that’s exactly what God needs to shine.
When I first started the church we rented out space in another church. There were nine churches that shared this space. The only time spot for us was Sunday evenings at 6 PM. That is not an ideal time to plant a church.
A few months in we had some people leave because Sunday nights were too difficult for them to manage. I couldn’t change that. We had no money to get a different space.
I dropped to my knees and prayed. I asked God to show me what to do. From that prayer time I felt God was going to give us a free church building. I committed to pray for this. After a few months I asked my church to pray about it. A year an a half in I got a text that said, “How would you like a free church building on 8 acres of land?” WHAT?!!!
Today our church owns a building on 8 acres and we paid nothing for it. It’s our Ebenezer. The building is a reminder of just how BIG God is. Not having resources is a great opportunity for God to shine.
What would you do right now if you had unlimited resources? What are your thoughts about doing ministry with a shoestring budget?