Few things keep a church planter up at night more than finances. The dizzying array of “but what about” questions fill our minds.
But what about my family? Will we be able to make it?
What about the church? Will it survive?
We’ve prayed, trusted God, stepped out in faith and now the pressures mount. If we are not careful, these questions can cripple us and arrest good, God-honoring ministry. Therefore, it is vital that a church planter work to develop a clear, compelling plan long before he sets out on the church planting journey. Planning is not antithetical to hard work — the two go hand in hand. We trust God, and we develop a plan.
THE CHURCH PLANTING PROSPECTUS
The outworking of this plan is often seen in the church planting prospectus. This document details the mission the church planter and his team plan to undertake. This plan will change. In fact, it will probably change significantly. But this reality should not undermine the hard work of developing a strategy.
A well-developed prospectus should communicate to others you care enough about what you are doing to spend the time developing a thoughtful plan for your ministry. It will be useful in team recruitment, fundraising and in all sorts of vision casting meetings, so spend time making it excellent.
Here are a few marks of a solid church planting prospectus:
A church planting prospectus is not the time to by cryptic. People want to see the facts, clearly communicated, in a way that they can understand. You should work to provide the salient details describing who you are, where you are going, why you are going there and what you plan to do when you arrive.
Try to avoid insider jargon or trivial information and instead focus on the important facts people would want to know.
Most people have very short attention spans and want to see the facts presented as concisely as possible. For this reason, we developed three tools we used when we planted Renewal Church in Greenville, South Carolina in the spring of 2010:
- a single-page, front and back document outlining the details of the project and the ways people could be involved
- a spiral bound booklet that provided more information, including a detailed Statement of Beliefs, a full biography of the church planting team and a detailed timeline of our action steps
- a web site with the information from these two documents
These three documents allowed us to clearly present the vision to diverse audiences — from friends and family who would probably support us if we were starting an elephant farm — to pastors, elders and deacon teams who would have more questions and need more finely nuanced information.
People invest in compelling visions. This means your church planting prospectus must include more than sterile facts. Use pictures to tell stories about the work you are trusting God for. Use charts and graphs to communicate vision and needs. Capturing people’s attention in an image-driven world will take work, but it will cause your prospectus to stick in the minds of those who are exposed to your work.
A church planting prospectus is a prime opportunity to invite people to be involved in your work. This takes courage. It is far easier to tell someone what you are going to do than to ask them to help make it happen. To not do so, however, squanders a God-given means of providing for your needs and the needs of your church.
Make sure your prospectus clearly communicates the prayer, financial and manpower needs your church will have. Show people how they can be involved, and trust God to prompt their hearts to invest in your vision.
Learn more about the top three skills that are absolutely necessary when starting a church by listening to this episode of the We are Send Network podcast.
Published August 11, 2021