Determine your launch budget
The question we hear often is, "How much money does it take to start a church?" That is similar to asking, "How much money does it take to open a restaurant?" What kind of restaurant? Is it fast food or fine dining? What city are you opening the restaurant in? What is the seating capacity? What is your marketing plan? A church is our Father's business and requires a business plan. And since it is the Father's business, we should employ the best God-honoring business practices.
Starting a church is similar to building a facility for an established church. At The Springs, we are designing our first building since we started 12 years ago. We get three choices: size, quality, and cost. However, we can only choose two of the three. The two we choose determines the third. For example, if we choose to build a 1,500-seat worship center and the most expensive materials, that determines the cost. On the other hand, if we decide our construction budget is $8 million and we want to build a 1,500-seat worship center, which determines the quality of the building.
The same is true for a new church start. If, for instance, you want to launch large in a large city, then that decision determines your cost will be high. The three choices for a church planter are church launch size, city, and cost. You get to choose two, and the third will be determined by the choices. If you only have $50,000 and you want to start in Phoenix, Ariz., that will impact the size of the start. For more resources on launching large and to find sample budgets go to: www.pdplanting.com
It costs less to start in a small town than a large city. I believe it was one of the reasons The Springs took off with a $30,000 investment. We are in Ocala, Fla. Our city was under 50,000 people when we started, and our county, 200,000. It was financially easier to capture the attention of a small city with a new church. Conversely, I have watched someone with more than $500,000 not be able to capture the attention of a large city like Orlando with more than 3 million people in it.
Once you have determined the size of your launch budget, the hard work of raising the money begins. If God has called you to a location, he will provide the resources for the journey. All church starts are founded and grounded in a calling from God. Starting churches is still his idea, and Jesus is still the only one who builds the church. I have heard Rick Warren say numerous times, "Where God guides, God provides!" Now you have to find the provision. Where I fell short in my lack of fund raising at The Springs was I didn't realize that while God was calling me to start a church, he was also tapping others to financially support his church.