In some places in the Philippines, church planters say they don't need any money to plant a church! But in many other places, the normal complaint is that there isn't enough money to plant a church.
In most cases, planting a church will cost something. Some churches cost millions of pesos to plant. Some will cost only a few thousand.
Whatever your case may be, you will probably need money. Where will you get it? Fortunately, there are many possible sources through which the Lord can provide for this need. Do you know what they are? To find out, read on.
Your mother church
This is the best place to start. Besides financial support, mother churches can also provide additional manpower, prayer support, emotional support, other material resources and accountability. Some mother churches can support 100% of the church planting project. Others are only able to support partially. Other sources of funds can complete what is needed.
"But I'm an independent church planter," some will say. Independent planters may want to reconsider and establish themselves with a mother church first which can then become their base for church planting.
Your new daughter church
"But we don't have an offering yet. In fact, we don't have a congregation yet!" some church planters will respond. That's okay —in the beginning. At first there may be no income from the new church. As soon as possible, however, the daughter church should contribute to its own support. In most cases, it should eventually become completely self-supporting. Other sources of funds are only temporary.
In some places, it may take years to reach this goal. Other churches become self-supporting quickly.
Pastor Joel Indico preached on giving in his second sermon at the new church, Jesus the Firm Foundation, in Country Homes, Biñan, Laguna. "Subukan ninyo ang Diyos," was his challenge. In the first year, the church reached an income of P10,000 per month.
Pastor Arman dela Merced began a church plant in January in Molino, Cavite. They held their first joint worship service in June. They officially organized the church in December. By the next November the church income reached P16,000 per month.
As we think about funding the new church for the first year, it is normal to expect some percentage, even if it's small, to come from the new church itself.
The resources needed to establish new churches are there, in the harvest. In fact, there are far more resources in the harvest than in the church!
Every denomination in the Philippines with which I have had contact has funds to support church planting.
"Buti pa 'yong may denomination! Kami, we're an independent church."
There is hope for you too! We have several non-denominational agencies in the Philippines who have the heart, and money, for church planting. The following support church planters:
The Bible League
P.O. Box 330 CPO
Tel. Nos.: 920-3590; 928-3835
Fax No.: 920-3839
Jesus Our Life
P.O. Box 4499
1284 Makati City
Tel. Nos.: 883-4492 to 93
Fax No.: 850-7824
Asia Evangelical Fellowship
P.O. Box 19
1469 Valenzuela City
Tel. No.: 291-4971; 293-1336
Fax No.: 293-0901
Fishers of Men
Blk. 1 Lot 14 Rose St.
Village 1, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
Tel./Fax No.: (049) 534-1787
New Hope Christian Ministries
250 Sto. Rosario Street
1501 Plainview, Mandaluyong City
Tel. No.: 532-8717
Fax No.: 531-6937
White Fields Ministry, Inc.
Box 7224, DAPO
1301 Pasay City
Tel. No.: 512-6764
There are many successful companies in the Philippines owned by Christians. These owners work hard at making as much money as they can … so they will have more to give to the Lord's work! Many of them love to give to church planting.
The Lord has blessed different churches in the Philippines with different resources. Some are blessed with manpower. Handa silang humayo as church planters and missionaries. Others are blessed with financial resources to support those in the front lines. Many churches like these actively support church planters, even from other churches.
At times, the apostle Paul worked as a tentmaker to support himself while he planted churches. This is where we got our term "tentmaker."
Many church planters today still work to support their families while planting a church at the same time. It's ideal if the tentmaker's job can also help make contacts for the church plant. But this isn't essential.
We've already seen the church planters in Abra who said they didn't need any money to plant a church. They were farmers. When the Lord led some of them to plant churches, they did this while continuing their farming.
"But I'm not a farmer. I live in the city."
Puwede pa rin! Jay de Leon is an architect. He planted a church in Morong, Rizal, while continuing his business. He didn't receive any outside support for his family's needs. As a businessman, he had a big advantage. His schedule was flexible. He could schedule times to go to the target barangay.
"Buti pa si Jay! Ako, walang business."
Puwede pa rin! Kuya Boy, Kuya Ben, Mang Abner, Ate Cora, Ate Baby, and many more in our church have fulltime jobs. They work Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Nakatali talaga. But they have planted churches on weekends. They are also tentmakers.
Your church planting team
The team can also give to support the work. They might continue to tithe to the mother church and give additional offerings to the church plant. Others may wish to divide their tithe between the mother church and the church plant. Some give their whole tithe to the church plant. This is often done when members from the mother church, who live somewhat far from that church, are released to become core members, to start a church near where they live. Yes, the mother church will feel the loss. But God blesses those who give! When doing this, be sure to gain the full understanding and approval of the mother church.
When members are released to start new churches, and their giving is directed to the church plant, they usually give much more. Studies have shown that they give 50% more! This is probably because they are directly involved in what their money is helping to support. They can see the results of their giving immediately. Allowing and encouraging team members to give to the church plant is a great way to raise needed funds.
Prayer partners becoming share partners
We can also raise support through our prayer letter. It's important to communicate with our prayer partners. A prayer letter is one way to do this. As we communicate our prayer needs and answers to prayer, some of our prayer partners will become share partners. As they see our needs, and pray for God's provision, God will speak to some of them to become the channel of the provision.
To start, make a mailing list of everyone whom you think would like to pray for your church planting ministry. Some possibilities are:
• Former churchmates
• Pastor friends
• Ninongs, ninangs, mga inaanak
• Former classmates
• Filipinos abroad
• Those you invited to your wedding (If you still have your guest list, this could be a big help!)
You may have to trim this list, depending on your budget. You can save some money by hand delivery in cases where you will be seeing these people anyway.
Send your prayer letter regularly. Monthly is ideal. Your letter should focus on your vision, your prayer needs and the fruit of your ministry. Occasionally you can also mention your financial needs. Then, get ready. Some may start to give! We have many families who support us regularly who started this way.
Some will tell you how interested they are in your prayer letters. If they do not begin helping with your financial support voluntarily, you can personally invite them to become a part of your support team.
Actually, you're not just asking them to support your ministry. You're encouraging them to become a very real part of what God is doing through you. As they pray for you and contribute to your support, they become a vital member of the church planting team. They will share the burden as you face trials and difficulties. They will rejoice with you as God gives birth to a church.
When you ask someone to consider helping with your support, you will get much better results if you also ask permission to contact them again, within one week, to know their decision. Kaunting tapang lang!
I'm confident God will bless those who give to our ministry. So I have no fear of asking for support. I see it as an opportunity for the person to be blessed!
As missionaries, we raise 100% of our support. This covers the needs of our family and the ministry of Philippine Challenge. The Lord has used this method to provide for us since 1985.
"Okay 'yan sa inyo. Amerikano ka kasi."
This also works well for Filipinos in the Philippines. Many Filipino organizations use this method. One is Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ which has 144 fulltime workers who have raised support this way.
Pastor Joel Indico has also raised support in this way. Here's his testimony:
When people give, be sure to thank them! We have given to many who raise support. Some have thanked us. Many never do. Express your gratitude by saying thanks or writing a note. Gratitude is an important quality for a church planter to develop. Besides this, if you thank someone, they are much more likely to continue to give. Also, be sure to thank the Lord for your share partners!
It does take time, and it is an expense to produce a prayer letter. But the help it provides our ministry is worth the investment. Even if you start with just a few recipients, it's well worth the effort!
In this chapter we have discussed several good sources of funds. The Lord may show you even more ways.
This wraps up our planning. Now you're ready to confirm your target barangay.
Action planning and discussion
1. Before you approach potential supporters, make sure you have written your budget. People are much more likely to give when they can see where the money will go.
2. All churches should become financially independent. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
3. What percentage of your financial need do you hope will come from the new daughter church itself within the first year?
4. Potential resources to establish new churches are in the harvest. Can you think of some specific examples?
5. If you are part of a denomination, what funds are available for church planting?
6. What non-denominational organizations do you know of that support church planting, other than those already mentioned?
7. Who do you think might like to receive your prayer letter?
The main thing to do now
qIdentify where you will get the finances you will need. Of the possible sources below, check which ones you will use.
__ Mother church
__ New daughter church
__ Your denomination
__ Non-denominational agencies
__ Christian companies
__ Other churches
__ Church planting team
__ Prayer partners, who may become share partners
__ Other possible sources of funds:
qContact the sources you have chosen to secure the finances you will need.
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