PCA Church Planting Fundraising Helps

Although there are some denominations that fully or partially fund their church planters, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is not one of them. Therefore, if the local church, or presbytery, calls you to plant a congregation, you must raise the financial support you need to fulfill your monetary requirements.

Initially, this was one of my greatest fears. Since I did not have many connections in the PCA, I was not sure if I could raise the financial support necessary to complete my 3-year budget, and if I could not raise the support, I would likely not be able to plant a PCA congregation. Those concerns are still present, especially considering I am still in the process of fundraising; nevertheless, in time, things became much easier because of what I have learned along the way.

If you are considering planting a PCA congregation, here are some things that may help you.

1. Create your network now. In other words, if you are going to plant a church in the PCA even if it is in 3-4 years, begin creating your network list now. A network list is a group of churches and individuals who may support you financially. Begin with your sending church and the churches in your presbytery. (Your presbytery may financially support you as well). After you have exhausted that list, consider other churches, both those in your denomination and those outside the denomination. Write the names of family members and close friends who may support you, too. Be mindful that your sending church may not want you to petition the people of that congregation, especially if that church is supporting you. 

2. Expand your network. After writing down the various churches and individuals who may support you, at some point, ask them if they know anyone who may be interested in helping financially. Also consider asking those in your core group for help. Find out if they know others, whether churches or individuals, who may support this effort.

3. Prepare a proposal. Some churches and individuals want a proposal. They desire to see a more in-depth approach to what you are doing. The proposal should include a brief 1-page testimony, perhaps a resume, a brief 1-page summary regarding why this work is important, your budget and current percentage raised, and demographics of the church planting area. More information may be required, but this should get you started. Remember, hundreds of other church planters may be petitioning the same churches you are. When considering the importance of your work, what makes you different? Is it the location of your church plant? Is it your vision? Do you have a strong desire to be an evangelistic church? What is it?

4. Send a hardcopy first. When sending financial support letters, consider first sending a hardcopy letter with your signature. A mass email may seem too impersonal. Also consider personalizing one or two introductory paragraphs in each letter to tailor it to those to whom you are writing. Will this take more time? Yes, but it may be worth it. Will sending an initial hardcopy letter cost more? Yes, but if you are able to generate the funds, it may be worth it. You can always follow-up the initial letter with an email and/or phone call.

5. Don't be disappointed. Do not get disappointed if a church or individual cannot financially support you. During the fundraising process, we create lists based on churches and persons who will necessarily support us. When those individuals or churches cannot, disappointment may set in. Do not let it. There may be valid reasons why people cannot financially offer any help presently.

6. Be prayerfully aware of God's sovereignty. Pray that God's will be accomplished. Although fundraising can be hectic at times, the God of all creation is in control. He will bring you financial support in accordance with his will. That may mean you accomplish your goal in one year; that may mean you are fundraising for five years; that may even mean you do not accomplish your goal and you have to consider another way to plant a church (e.g., bi-vocational). Whatever the circumstances, God is sovereign, and he is directing your efforts in a manner in accordance with his will.