If you are a church planter out there, you’re gonna love this conversation! I decided to make a few comments on what I’ve learned about money over the last two years. First of all, you should know that I firmly believe that money will fall out of trees if you shake them hard enough. I have no grasp of the sentence, “We don’t have the money to do that.” I don’t believe it and I intend to prove the world wrong.
We started this church with one $25,000 grant. That is absolutely nothing. It’s pretty much chump change in light of the astounding mountains to move in the church planting world. The only reason we have not folded in failure is the consistent, faithful families that started this church with us (39 awesome people, but half of that number represents children). We have also had a few larger checks along the way that have made all of the difference. I’ll write about it later, but we were about one week away from near bankruptcy when New Life in Renton, Washington took an offering that propelled us to the next level.
Along the way, God has consistently provided as long as we kept putting ourselves out there. When things looked bleak in the bank account, you could hear this sentence often, “Don’t stop spending. Think smart and spend what you need to stay excellent.” Don’t get me wrong, we also had to be very resourceful… www.craigslist.com became our best friend. We liquidated anything we weren’t using to pay the bills. We are the “greenest” church out there because we are forced to recycle everything. A piece of plywood used in a stage set will be reused a dozen times for whatever the latest cause! If an offering envelope falls on the floor, our vultures will swoop down to make sure it is available next week.
And here we are again at a crossroads of decision making in the financial world. As Mark and I pray, we feel that North Creek needs a semi-permanent residence. Being in a school has limitations that hurt. Advertising, perceptions, damages to our ever-moving technical equipment…it’s a constant juggling act of rental facilities and replacement issues.
As we walk down this path we have discovered that once again we need about $25,000. Isn’t that ironic? We are back to where we started two years ago, but with a new drive and a new direction. And mark my words…just as God has provided before, He will again. It’s His church and He loves this community far more than we ever will. Why wouldn’t He find a way to give us $25,000 to change someone’s life?
So church planters out there, hear me loud and clear…shake the tree, money will fall out. Put yourself out there with a dream, a passion, a purpose. Walk in unwavering faith and determination. Love people so deeply and unconditionally that it hurts…the money is not worth the time you are spending thinking about it. Think about excellence and giving people your best. Money is just a tool and there’s plenty of it out there. $25,000 is just chump change to someone! (Of course, if $25,000 is chump change to you, you can give online at www.coffeechurch.com …and I’d love to meet you!)
I understand the weight that terrible finances can be on leadership…been there, done that, hated it, don’t want to be there again. But I will tell you that in the midst of crisis, we held firm to what we believe about leadership. We believed in our team, blessed them to the best of our ability, thought with creativity, and never whined to our people about making a greater sacrifice.
So, in the spirit of my tree analogy…hang in there!