Money and movements

Financial dependency and the death of a movement

IStock 000001176262Small

Dependency occurs when a local church [ed. or church planting movement] requires funding or leadership from outside of its own members in order carry out the core biblical responsibilities of a local church under normal conditions.

Consequences of financial dependency include a lack of ownership, stunted growth, mixed motives in leadership, confused accountability, suspicion of foreign influence, and compromised witness.

For a church to be sustainable it must be able to carry out its core biblical functions without relying on foreign funding or leadership.

The benefits of sustainability are the opposites of the consequences of dependency listed above.

Ken Stout

In this masters thesis, Ken Stout does a great job of wrestling with the relationship between financial dependency and the health of a movement.

Time and Money

Istock 000003701027Xsmall I know a denomination that has committed $10 million to restart church planting.

Not a bad budget. They're in the planning process for spending it.

How long are they going to take to get the plan right? To get all the appropriate approvals? Until the end of next year.

The problem with movements that have settled down is they have all the money and all the time in the world. No sense of urgency. No desperate compulsion. No passionate cause.

Dynamic movements don't have much money. They probably don't have permission.

But they do have urgency, compulsion and passion. They don't take a years to put the plan together.

They take charge of their destiny and act. The rest is history.

Church Planting Movements

Doing it for free

This post from Seth Godin was so rich in application for church planters and movement leaders that I've decided to reproduce it her in full:

I was reading John Hammond's biography entry, (John discovered Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and yes, Count Basie) and I noticed that he was independently wealthy.

Woz wasn't looking to make a lot of money when he invented the Apple computer, and Nolan Bushnell certainly didn't imagine he was creating the video game industry when he invented Pong. Cory and the rest of the boingboing team had no revenue for years, and Digg and Yahoo! and dozens of other key websites were started without an eye on profit, never mind revenue. The same thing is true for Julia Child and Gene Roddenberry and Dean Kamen.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more it seems that pioneers are almost never in it for the money. The smart ones figure out how to take a remarkable innovation and turn it into a living (or a bigger than big payout) but not the other way around. I think the reason is pretty obvious: when you try to make a profit from your innovation, you stop innovating too soon. You take the short payout because it's too hard to stick around for the later one.

Irony #1 is that business journalists always ask pioneers about the money. And then they are incredulous when they hear the answer. They make up bogus numbers or just assume the pioneer is lying. They don't see the trend.

The second irony is that people who want to join the pioneers are often focused on a steady paycheck and juicy options... they would probably be better off seeking the edgiest thing they can find, run by the most devoted visionary.

Seth Godin

So why don't you heed God's call to go out and change the world. . . for free.

MovementsSeth Godin

Doing it for free

This post from Seth Godin was so rich in application for church planters and movement leaders that I've decided to reproduce it her in full:

I was reading John Hammond's biography entry, (John discovered Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and yes, Count Basie) and I noticed that he was independently wealthy.

Woz wasn't looking to make a lot of money when he invented the Apple computer, and Nolan Bushnell certainly didn't imagine he was creating the video game industry when he invented Pong. Cory and the rest of the boingboing team had no revenue for years, and Digg and Yahoo! and dozens of other key websites were started without an eye on profit, never mind revenue. The same thing is true for Julia Child and Gene Roddenberry and Dean Kamen.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more it seems that pioneers are almost never in it for the money. The smart ones figure out how to take a remarkable innovation and turn it into a living (or a bigger than big payout) but not the other way around. I think the reason is pretty obvious: when you try to make a profit from your innovation, you stop innovating too soon. You take the short payout because it's too hard to stick around for the later one.

Irony #1 is that business journalists always ask pioneers about the money. And then they are incredulous when they hear the answer. They make up bogus numbers or just assume the pioneer is lying. They don't see the trend.

The second irony is that people who want to join the pioneers are often focused on a steady paycheck and juicy options... they would probably be better off seeking the edgiest thing they can find, run by the most devoted visionary.

Seth Godin

So why don't you heed God's call to go out and change the world. . . for free.

MovementsSeth Godin

10 Counter-Intuitive Principals of Development

200606301023 Jon Moore serves the people who are called to give. Here's what he's learning about matching money with mission.

1. The world is awash with money.

2. The size of the gift has as much to do with spiritual capacity as financial capacity.

3. There is more reward from going deep than going wide.

4. Donors need ministry more than ministry needs donors.

5. A gift is more important as a catalyst for another gift than for its actual value.

6. You can only gain interest from mass-marketing; to gain commitment you need a relationship.

7. The larger percentage of time that the donor talks, the more positive the donor will feel about you and your vision.

8. The only way to find out what the donor thinks of you is to ask him/her to do something. Talk is cheap; commitment is expensive – fortunately, it is also addictive!

9. A donor who writes you a check before you ask may have just told you no.

10. The most important trait for a development professional is hospitality.

Best book I've read on ministering to major donors:

"Mega Gifts" (Jerold Panas)

Exposing the money myth

 6 85393411 Baddc5Ed80 George Patterson explains why it's not about the money.

Let us expose a myth. You may have heard a whisper just now, Church multiplication sounds nice, but it requires a lot of money, specialized education, sophisticated organization, high-powered executive leadership, and costly buildings.

Answer with fact: Churches multiply more readily around the world where these things are lacking.

George Patterson Church Multiplication Guide

Christianity moves southChurch Planting MovementsQuotes

God's business

According Adele Ferguson in the Business Review Weekly:

Religion is big business in Australia. If it were a corporation, it would be one of the biggest and fastest-growing in the country, accounting for more than $23 billion in revenue in 2005, employing hundreds of thousands of staff (salaried and volunteers) and wielding unsurpassed political and social clout.

Read on. . .

The tone of the article is revealing. It portrays churches as greedy corporations and largely ignores that much of the funds raised go towards education, health and aged care and emergency relief.

The article picks up the rise of the modern Pentecostal movement and its growing financial clout. Some of the larger churches are effectively corporations with turnovers in the millions. There's also a growing trend for Pentecostals to direct their energies into the business and political worlds with increasing success.

Movements begin on the fringe and then move to the centre. Pentecostalism is moving into the cultural mainstream of Australian society. I expect Australian Pentecostalism to continue to grow and adapt much to the dismay of those on the theological and political left. If history repeats itself, eventually we'll have a Pentecostal Prime Minister. Meanwhile the secularized mainstream denominations will barely survive on external life support.

Given a generation or two, success may eventually change the Pentecostal movement. As movements shift into the mainstream they become more rational, conformist and risk adverse. Expect “How to speak in tongues” to lose out to “10 Rules for Business Success”. Expect “How to plant a church” to lose out to “Growing what we've got bigger”. Expect “brother Ted Smith” to become “Rev Dr Edward Smith”.

Plateaued movements have too big a stake in this world to worry about the next. Led by the clergy, they begin to reflect the views of the cultural and social elites.

That's the bad news. The good news is that (1) there are exceptions to this trend and (2) God is in the business of raising up new movements—on the fringe.