Financial Basics

There are very few things that are simple or easy about church planting and budget planning isn't one of them. Despite the tricky nature of planning a budget for an entity that has yet to exist, it is most certainly an essential task if one wants a fighting chance of succeeding. An accurate budget must be built on a base of thorough research. You must do research on your community to find out what it will cost to get a church off the ground.

The Framework

Developing your budget will likely be a collaborative effort between the lead pastor, church leaders, an accountant or your church coach. By creating a budget that reflects your vision for the church, you all know your expectations, limits and goal to be good stewards of your resources. You must know what each of the following areas will cost you:

  • Facilities & Maintenance
    Most new church plants don?t have their own worship facilities or office space. It is common for new church plants to rent space for worship, like movie theaters, schools, or community centers. Common facilities costs are facility rent, office rent, and utilities, property and liability insurance and maintenance.
  • Leadership Development
    Be sure to include costs such as coaching, conferences, seminars and continuing education.
  • Office Administration
    There will be equipment needs for your office, office supplies, phones, software and postage.
  • Marketing
    Logo and branding, website design and hosting, vision packets, business cards, invitations, printed materials, fund raising graphic support, vision promotional video, signs, banners, direct mail pieces, etc?
  • Payroll Expenses
    How many staff will you hire? Will they be fully supported or will they need to supplement their salary somehow? Will you hire a full staff immediately or hire more as you go along? Will benefits, such as housing allowance, health & life insurance, moving expenses and worker?s compensation be included?
  • Ministry Needs
    What will it take to cover costs for Children?s and Youth programs, hospitality, life groups, worship arts, technology and programming?
  • Travel and Hospitality
    You will need to account for meals and mileage re-imbursement for meetings with potential support from individuals and partner churches.
  • Start-up Capital and Initial Outreach events
    Some examples of equipment purchases are a portable sound system, portable lighting system, projectors, bibles, paper supplies, carts and cabinets, and a trailer for storage. Also you need to plan outreach events to get the people to your church! Planning pre-launch and post-launch events need to be accounted for.
  • Marketing
    Logo and branding, website design and hosting, vision packets, business cards, invitations, printed materials, fund raising graphic support, vision promotional video, signs, banners, direct mail pieces, etc?
  • Operations
    The new church plant consumes. Make sure to include Office Administration, ongoing operating expenses may include things like office supplies, leadership development, and insurance. Operation costs are ongoing.

Eight budgeting tips for church plants:

  1. Overestimate your expenses
  2. Underestimate your income
  3. ALWAYS save something
  4. ALWAYS give something
  5. Make ONE person in charge of the budget being correct every month (it must be clear who is in charge of it!)
  6. Don?t have a miscellaneous category in your budget (it?s a black hole)
  7. Make your budget SIMPLE
  8. Quit whining that it is too hard and work on it

Planning initial budget? 
Attached is an excel spreadsheet that you can use to work on your budget. Also attached are several budgets from recent church plants within the WMD to help you determine appropriate numbers.

Finding Funding
Budget planning and fundraising go hand in hand. Now that you know what funding you are going to need, it's time to determine where that funding is coming from. For example, you will receive support from a core group of attendees, new attendees, special gifts, and special occasions, etc. You will have supporters who can make one-time gifts, large and small, and others who can contribute on an ongoing basis. In addition, you may find support from a parent church or other churches in your area.

Be prepared to meet with potential partners. Once again, a well thought out vision and mission is huge when meeting financial supporters. You also have to be prepared with a well-executed presentation. You should have a 3 minute, 10 minute and 30 minute presentation prepared and based on the audience you should know which one to use with whom. This can be done in person or video. You also need a well-designed fundraising brochure, business card or handouts that you can leave with the person(s). Link to fundraising letter

Asking the right questions to find potential partners

Question #1: Who Do You Know?

Make a list of EVERYONE you want to connect with. Who do you know? What pastors do you think would support you? Who is in your address book? Who are your social media friends? What churches are you connected with? Now, literally, write a list of everyone you can think of who would be the least bit interested in supporting your church. Don't pre-judge anyone. God is doing the work. Don?t limit Him by deciding in advance that someone you've considered putting on your list wouldn't be interested in helping. He's planning to use people you would have never imagined.


Question #2: Who Do the People You Know Know?

The second question you want to ask yourself is, Who do the people you know know? For every person you know, he or she knows three or four others who may be interested in supporting your church. Each person you know and every pastor you know will have a network of people that they can tap into to. Once you get them on board it is easy for them to convince their friends or colleagues to come along as well.


Question #3: Who Has a Heart for Your Area?

Ask yourself, Who has a heart for the city or area where I?m planting my church? If God has tapped you on the shoulder to be a church planter in a particular area, it's more than likely that He has already laid that area on someone else?s heart, too. The size of your city and the number of unchurched people to reach will determine the number of people you'll find who have a heart for your area.


Question #4: Will God Show You What You Need to Do?

Ask God, "Will You show me what I need to do?" God's resources are limitless; He knows more people than you could ever imagine meeting. He will often times lead you right to a businessperson, pastor or individual you've never met before ? just to give you the opportunity to form a relationship that can advance His kingdom. God has people who are more than willing to support your new church. You just have to be willing to ask Him to guide you and then go where He leads.


Question #5: What If the People You Ask Say No?

What do you do then? There will be plenty of people who will be unwilling to support you, but never let it discourage you. When you understand that God is in control you will realize that you are simply in the business of finding the people He intends to bring alongside you. If someone tells you no, that person is not rejecting you or your church-he or she just isn't part of this plan. God will show you your partners. You just have to show a little faith in sowing the seed before you can reap the harvest.

Key tips for your fundraising meeting:

  1. Make an appointment with the decision maker. Don?t waste your time and re-present.
  2. Find out the passions of churches and go to them with like passions.
  3. When you make an appointment, tell them on the front end that it is a support meeting.
  4. Get a date when a decision will be made and follow up by this date!
  5. If you get a ?no?, is it a no not now, or is it a no not ever?
  6. Never over-promise

What your partners will want from you:

  1. Partners want a reasonable strategy focusing on your prior success, and a launch date.
  2. A reasonable budget
  3. A plan for self-sufficiency
  4. A capable leader
  5. A clear request for support
  6. A compelling story
  7. Other partners
  8. Regular communication
  9. A clear opportunity for success
  10. Results


(502) 425-3884 or (800) 530-7236
The Kentucky Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
7400 Floydsburg Rd
Crestwood, KY 40014