Chapter 8
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Planning

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For many months we observed the construction of the MRT1 on EDSA. What a big job! How do you suppose they did it? Do you think the workers just gathered one day and started to pour concrete and fasten steel girders together? Of course not. That kind of approach would never succeed. First, an architect needed to come up with a plan.

It would be very hard to complete any large project without a written plan. But with a plan, even projects as enormous and complex as the MRT can be erected.

This is also true in planting a church. Having a written plan to follow—step by step—is a huge help!

Many church planters find it hard to write a plan to plant a church! Because of this, we have worksheets here to make this easier. All you have to do is fill in the blanks!

Someone has said that a vision without a written plan is just a dream. As you write your plan, your dream will be one step closer to reality!

Suggestion: You might want to skip this chapter now, finish reading through Step 10, and then come back and read this chapter. You will understand the plan to implement all of the ten steps more clearly after you have read about each step.

Make a timeline

One good way to write action steps in a logical sequence is by using a timeline. A timeline will show what to do and when to do it. See the sample timeline on p. 127, which has actually been used to plant many churches.

Step 1 - Motivate your church

On the sample you can see that motivating your church is drawn right across every month. That's because this is an ongoing activity.

Step 2 - Mobilize a team

One month should be long enough to recruit a team and have them start helping. The time needed to train them isn't included on this sample timeline. So keep this in mind.

Step 3 - Set a goal and write plans

Right after the team is recruited they can take part in setting the goal and writing the rest of the plan. This will include selecting your tentative target barangay. Two weeks should be long enough if you get right at it. The leader of the project can just write in the timeline for steps 1-2 on his own, since there probably won't be a team yet.

Step 4 - Confirm the target barangay

When you finish writing the plan, including the tentative target barangay, you can then confirm the target barangay. One month should be plenty of time.

Step 5 - Make contacts

After confirming the target barangay, we have one month scheduled just to make contacts, from mid-September until mid-October. While you are confirming the target barangay during the previous month, you may also make some contacts, even though this isn't your main activity at that time. That's what the dotted line from mid-August until mid-September means.

Step 6 - Open Outreach Bible Studies

Two months are scheduled for OBSes (Outreach Bible Studies), from mid-October until mid-December. But if you make a hot contact earlier, someone very enthusiastic who is ready to start an OBS, huwag pigilin dahil lang sa schedule. Go ahead and start. That's what the dotted line from mid-August until mid-October means.

Step 7 - Nurture the new believers

You should only need two months for the Nurture Bible Studies. Let's put two extra weeks into the schedule dahil Pasko na.

Step 8 - Form a fellowship

When all the Bible studies are over, we can bring them all together to form a fellowship. On our sample timeline, this is just one week after the end of Step 7, in the first week of March. This is our target date to begin the first weekly joint fellowship. You will notice that the line for Step 8 begins in mid-December. This is to allow enough time for all the things that need to be done before beginning the weekly joint fellowship. These are described in detail in Step 8. When you begin the Nurture Bible Studies, start preparing to form a fellowship at the same time.

Step 9 - Continue nurture and outreach

Once you reach this step, nurturing your members and doing outreach are never ending.

Step 10 - Formally organize the new church

About three months after the weekly joint fellowship begins you should be ready for formal organization. This gives you time to reach your goal and finish the other requirements mentioned in Step 10.

Notice that the line begins in March and ends in June to provide enough time for this. Before you formally organize, be sure you have reached your goal on the number of new believers who compose the new church. You may not reach this goal when you begin the joint fellowship.

For example, your goal may be 40. Let's say you have 25 when you begin the weekly joint fellowship. That's fine. Then, when the 25 grow to 40, you have reached your goal, and can go ahead with formal organization.

Many church plants reach their goal before the target date. That's even better! If so, you might be able to formally organize sooner. Some church plants even hit their goal right when they begin their weekly joint fellowship! That's great! They can go ahead with formal organization when they finish the other things discussed in Step 10.

On any step, if you are ready to begin sooner than you have on your schedule, go ahead! Don't wait just because of the schedule. On the other hand, try hard to not get too far behind schedule.

The timeline we have looked at is only a sample. Some less experienced church planters react by saying one year is very fast. But do you know that hundreds of churches have been planted using this timeline? Many have even done it in less than a year! Of course, this is only the beginning of the church. Much still needs to be done. But new churches have been started! Magpakasipag nang kaunti. Stick to your timeline. It can be done!

Now, meet with your team and make your timeline. You can photocopy the blank timeline worksheet on p. 131. Fill in the blanks at the top to write your goal. Write in the actual months. Then just draw a line for when you will accomplish each of the steps. You can make your timeline just like the sample, or you can make as many changes as you would like. Just draw in the lines. Simple! (Simple to draw the lines, but not so easy to accomplish! ()

When you've made your timeline, you might want to pray with your team, asking the Lord to fulfill the plan.

& Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Prov. 16:3)

Make schedules

Written schedules can help us to stay organized as we plant the church. As a sample, you can see the schedule of Femy Roy, on p. 132, who helped plant a church in Dagat-dagatan, Navotas.

With careful scheduling, a lot can be accomplished in one day. In Ate Femy's schedule, Saturday and Sunday afternoons were both loaded with three OBSes. Saturday mornings were for training, team meeting and prayer. Visitation to the OBS contacts was done on Thursday afternoons. On Thursday evenings Ate Femy prepared for her OBSes. Aling Soring, her partner, had the same schedule.

I was also part of this team. I had the same schedule, except I didn't join Ate Femy and Aling Soring on Thursdays. They handled the visitation themselves.

Can a church be planted just on weekends? Absolutely! Our teams have planted many with this schedule! One of the keys is good scheduling. Schedule several OBSes, one after the other.

Fulltime church planters can do so much more! Some church planters are satisfied with just one OBS in a day. Much more can be done!

When you have many OBSes, you can help organize your time with a written schedule. If you are the team leader, it might help you to know the schedule of each team member. A written schedule can also help provide accountability to teammates who may still be developing in their faithfulness and self discipline. It might help you as you follow them up to make sure they've kept their commitments.

You can photocopy the blank schedule on p. 133 and distribute it to your team. OBS schedules usually change frequently as we add new OBSes and drop unproductive ones. It's best to write your schedule in pencil so you can easily make changes.

Write a budget

Before going any further in your church plant, be sure to think about how much the project will cost.

& "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' "

(Lk. 14:28-30)

& The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. (Prov. 21:5)

To make this easier we can divide the budget into three parts: Budgets A, B and C.

Budget A - The monthly budget from the time the project begins until you begin your regular weekly worship service.

Budget B - Onetime expenses for equipment needed mainly to set up the worship center.

Budget C - The monthly budget after you have a regular weekly worship service since your monthly expenses will probably increase at this point.

WEEKLY CHURCH PLANTER'S SCHEDULE - Sample

Name: Femy Roy Date: May 1 - October 1

TIME MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY

7:00-8:00

8:00-9:00

9:00-10:00

10:00-11:00

11:00-12:00

12:00-1:00

1:00-2:00

2:00-3:00

3:00-4:00

4:00-5:00 Visitation

5:00-6:00 Visitation

6:00-7:00

7:00-8:00

8:00-9:00 Study &

9:00- Preparation

 

TIME FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY

7:00-8:00

8:00-9:00

9:00-10:00 Team Meeting

10:00-11:00 Team Meeting

11:00-12:00 Team Prayer Time

12:00-1:00

1:00-2:00 OBS – Noemi OBS - Salonga

2:00-3:00 OBS – Baby OBS - Dasmariñas

3:00-4:00

4:00-5:00 OBS – Mang Hector OBS - Aling Soring

5:00-6:00

6:00-7:00

7:00-8:00

8:00-9:00

9:00-

Let's look at the details of the Sample Budget on p. 136. This is just a sample. Your actual budget will probably be quite different.

In Budget A, we have P800 per month for the allowance of four volunteer workers. If you have a larger team, you may need to budget more. If you have fulltime workers you will need to budget quite a bit more. On the other hand, many members of church planting teams donate their own pamasahe and meryenda. If you have team members who do this, you may not need to budget anything for workers' allowance.

Notice we have budgeted P100 per month for materials. In some months, this may be more than you will need. In other months this will not be enough. Budget for what you will need on an average month.

In Chapter 19, we will discuss the need for intercessors. One way to communicate with them is through a regular prayer letter. We have budgeted P100 per month for this important item.

All together, we will need P1,000 per month for the first few months of the project.

Some church plants may cost much more than this. Some will cost less. When we taught about budgeting for church planting in Abra, these church planters said to us, "Why do we need a budget? We've planted churches without spending anything." Good! Others though have spent millions of pesos to plant just one church! And this didn't even include a building!

Our goal is to saturate the entire Philippines with churches. We can best accomplish this by mobilizing all existing churches to multiply. Most churches cannot do this if they need millions of pesos. Therefore, it's crucial that we also find ways to plant churches that are within the budget of an average church. Fortunately, there are many churches being planted without spending much money.

In Budget B, we've tried to be matipid. Notice there is no keyboard yet to use during worship, no overhead projector and no sound system. Many new churches start out using the karaoke of one of the new believers. This is a good way to get them involved. We can use inexpensive musical instruments in the beginning, like a tambourine and marakas. Saka na lang tayo bibili ng keyboard and overhead projector. These aren't essential to get started. Notice there is only enough budget for one electric fan. Kung maiinitan ang mga miyembro, you might be able to use this as an opportunity to start taking an offering to buy another fan. In one of our church plants, sinadya namin na kulang ang electric fan!

Many churches have found that a good way to begin taking offerings is to list specific items that they would like to purchase. People can designate their giving to buy a specific item. This is usually rewarding to the givers when they see the item purchased and used in their church.

It's crucial that we develop a sense of ownership in the new believers. They need to feel that this is their church! One way to do this is to let them buy some of the equipment. Providing everything, if you're able, may be faster in the short run. But it's very unhealthy in the long run.

To begin taking the offering, other church planters emphasize that giving is an act of worship, even if there is nothing yet to purchase. Some even start taking offerings in their Outreach Bible Studies. Think it through. Pray. Do what you feel is best in your context.

In Budget C, we have P500 per month for the venue. You won't be able to rent a sinehan for P500. But you might start off in someone's driveway, and offer them this as a love gift for the extra kuryente used.

God Is Alive Christian Ministries, pastored by Rafael Salonga, meets in Shakey's for free! The only requirement is members have to buy something to eat after the service. Creativity can find inexpensive venues.

Perhaps one of the team members can become the pastor, while he maintains his job on weekdays. P1,000 could be given as a love gift. In some contexts much less could be given. A fulltime pastor will probably require a bigger budget. Using bivocational workers (those who lead the church while maintaining their secular job) is essential for rapid church multiplication. Multiplication will be very slow if all church plants require a fulltime paid worker.

At this point, the team members from the mother church can begin to phase out. The new believers from the harvest can begin to take their places. The workers' allowance can be decreased to P400. Total needed: P2,250 per month. It can be done. Many churches have begun on similar budgets.

We need to identify sources of funds for all budget items. For Budget A we will need P1,000 per month. The mother church is able to give P500 per month. The new daughter church is not yet able to give anything, as there is no offering yet. What can we do? Ate Rose in Hong Kong can send P500 per month. Salamat! Kumpleto na.

(If you don't have an Ate Rose, and you're wondering where you'll get the money, the next chapter is especially for you.)

In Budget B, we need P6,240 for onetime expenses. The mother church can take a special offering to raise P1,000. By faith, we can start the offering at the new daughter church to raise P2,000. If more is given, that will be even better. Ate Rose said she can give P2,000 for special needs. Pero kulang pa rin. A kumpare of one of our team members promises to cover the rest. Salamat!

In Budget C, the mother church can continue to give P500 per month. By faith, the new daughter church will be able to give P600 per month. Ate Rose can continue to give P500 per month. Pero kulang pa rin. Buti na lang, Kuya Art says he can cover the rest dahil gumaganda ang takbo ng negosyo niya.

This should be enough budgeting to get you started. You can revise the budget after a few months as things change. As soon as possible, you should phase out outside sources of funds. The new daughter church should become financially independent.

Almost all denominations in the Philippines have clear plans to phase out support of new churches. Phase out times range from a year and a half to four years.

At this point, you may not know all of the details to complete Budgets A, B and C. Just do the best you can. Estimate, if necessary.

Some have asked, "Can't I just plant the church by faith?" If you have no sources of funds, but have faith that God will provide, go ahead. God has honored the faith of many church planters, and has provided after they have stepped out. But it's a good idea to know how much faith you will need. So make the budget.

You can photocopy the blank worksheet on p. 140 to make your budget. Just fill in the blanks. Add other items as needed. Try to match the total expenses and sources of funds for each budget column.

Congratulations! You've written your plan!

Make adjustments

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

(Prov. 21:5)

There will probably be things that will happen that you didn't plan for. Because of this, you will need to make adjustments in your plan once in a while. Hindi problema 'yan. It's part of good planning.

To find the money we'll need, let's go on to Chapter 9.

Action planning and discussion

1. What are some of the things you like about the Sample Timeline?

2. Can you think of any church planting projects that stopped because of lack of funds? Did they count the cost before they started?

3. When do you think will be the best time to start taking offerings in your new church?

4. What will you do to prepare the congregation for this?

5. Talk to an experienced church planter about some of the things he has learned about starting the offerings.

6. What are some of the pro's and con's of taking offerings in your Outreach Bible Studies?

7. What will you do to help the new believers feel like the church is "their church" and not "your church"?

8. How long will it be (estimate) until your church is financially self-supporting?

9. What good ideas did you get from the Sample Budget?

10. Were any parts of the Sample Budget unrealistic for your situation? Which? What changes will you make?

The main thing to do now

q Fill up the Timeline.

You can photocopy the blank timeline worksheet on p. 131.

q Fill up the Budget Worksheet.

You can photocopy the blank budget worksheet on p. 140.

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This page was last updated on 15 July 2013.