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Money money money!

by on July 11, 2010

Just heard of yet another missional church plant that is under threat because the funding tap is being turned off. This happens so often.

When are people going to stop using this short-term  funding model? It’s no good!

As we think over our options for mission at Canterbury, and face the fact that our (current) team of eight can’t fund a full-time leader, one question we’ll be asking is whether there are other ways of achieving financial stability, besides the internal funding model we’ve been working with.

Any suggestions?

From → General

7 Comments
  1. Susannah permalink

    Oh now that is hard! I do agree with the thinking that is driving your model and approach, but it is not easy at this end of the process. I think the basic issue is that your potential team members are all money-rich and time-poor. My suggestion, for what it’s worth, would be that your recruiting should target less affluent areas. It’s really the time-rich (and therefore a little more money-poor) people who will come. 21 of those people, rather than 20 of the other sort.

    • Thanks for the comment, Susannah.

      I’m not sure who you’ve got in mind, these busy-but-moneyed people that are our potential team members. Perhaps you could clarify? Which areas are you thinking of, when you suggest targetting less affluent ones? We’ve pretty much aimed at everyone within a 20 min drive of Canterbury.

      It’s really the time-rich (and therefore a little more money-poor) people who will come.

      that is so true. Christian was just saying to me the other day, that we’ve learnt this lesson over the months. Most (not all) people who’ve joined the mission team so far are more down the time-rich money-poor end of things. Personally I hope that trend changes, because it locks so many ‘ordinary’ Christians out of involvement, when it’s exactly the ordinary christians who could make such a difference in multi-ethnic Sydney. But your point is realistic.

      However, it will take more than 21 of such people to create a financially self-sustaining team. More like 40, I’d say! So we’re having rethink whether our funding model is really the best one for this sort of mission.

  2. Jonathon, I’m probably repeating myself, but I think your comments make some assumptions:

    1. You assume self funding is more reliable than external funding. But no funding source, internal or external, is certain. Team members can depart just as easily as external funds can depart. Faith will be required either way.

    2. The funding issue is driven by other issues and assumptions. Churches tend to expect that new works like this will be headed by a full time minister/missionary. That may be be necessary, or best, but it may not. Many mission practitioners believe a different model is best – that missions are established by part time workers who earn their way and stay involved in the local community. I’m not saying your way is wrong, just that’s it’s an assumption and certainly one that can be questioned.

    We need to keep praying and see what God is saying to us.

    But I agree with you that one would have hoped that a vibrant church would be able to put more support behind new mission efforts. Perhaps this is a salutory performance measure of church health and methods?

    • Hi Unk, good comments.

      But no funding source, internal or external, is certain. Team members can depart just as easily as external funds can depart. Faith will be required either way.

      Good point. In my view the ideal would be to have enough team members so that you could cope even if some left the team. Though we aren’t likely to be in that position any time soon! But I agree that other structures could also give a fair bit of stability. I think really in my post I was wondering which other structures would give the most stability.

      Faith will be required either way.

      Hard to disagree with that! But it raises an issue which plagues ministries, and if you don’t mind I’ll reflect a little on it here. It’s always a bit tricky to know how much to try to create security and stability, and how much to just wing it and ‘trust God’ to supply the rest. I find different Christians disagree strongly at this point. I’ve noticed, for example, that CMS seems to have a high standard of support and training for missios before they let them go – if that standard can’t be reached, they won’t send them. Other agencies seem to have much lower standards, and take more of a ‘trust God to provide’ stance. Are they caring properly for their missios? Is CMS lacking in faith? It depends who you ask!

      Same sort of issue seems to apply in heaps of areas. Should Christians take out insurance? Super? Should a church employ a staff member if they can’t guarantee they will have the funds to pay them medium term? In mission, do you invest in something that seems likely to succeed, and to last, or do you leave all that to God, and trust the Holy Spirit to give the success?

      Personally, I find that in making our Canterbury plans, we’ve encountered people on the ‘left’ of us, saying, woh! take it carefully, there, that’s a risky venture, don’t you realise you’ve got a family to look after? Don’t want to see you guys get burnt!
      – and people to the ‘right’ of us, who say, why bother with all the structures, and ordination, and affiliation and guaranteed income and all that. Just trust God and go for it. Christians in other countries never dream of having all that security you’re looking for, they just have faith.

      In short, what some call faith, others call lack of wisdom, patience and careful planning. What for some is prudence and responsible decision-making, for others is worldliness and lack of faith. I can’t even work out if I’m further down the cautious end or the radical end of the scale!

      Can someone adjudicate this for me, and help me find the centre point? Or even demonstrate that such a point exists?

      • J

        Don’t disagree that there are difficult issues here, not least for a couple who have responsibility for three young children. And I’m certainly not advocating a boots and all faith approach – I carry all sorts of insurance, I had a safe public service job for a lifetime and now have safe superannuation. I’m just suggesting that we need to find God’s way for this team, and it may not be the way you first thought best.

        We’ll all keep praying and discussing and surely we can trust God that even imperfect people like us will be led to the right answer for our team in the end.

      • I’m just suggesting that we need to find God’s way for this team, and it may not be the way you first thought best.

        Amen to that. In fact significant aspects of the vision have been reshaped over the past year through people’s input and as we’ve learnt more about what we’re doing. We’re pretty much acknowledging that our approach to funding now needs a rethink. And that won’t be the last thing to change either, I’m sure!

        surely we can trust God that even imperfect people like us will be led to the right answer for our team in the end

        Double amen. I am very confident that the team we’ve got will make good and godly decisions as we seek God together. Great to have a team like that. Great to have the Holy Spirit!

  3. Jacqueline Lee permalink

    I think if you have a part time job at the same time as church planting, although challenging, is a noble thing to do.

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