Money Money Money

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : September 22, 2004

It is amazing how much of what I’m doing during this phase of the church plant revolves around money. We need money for rent. Money for my pay. Money for posters. Money. Money. Money.

The funny thing is, decentralizing into a house church network approach should free up money. If we are primarily a house church network, then we don’t NEED to rent a space for central gathering. And we can keep going without much central oversight. That’s the theory anyways. Alot of the house churches out there aren’t missional enough. That’s why I decided to have some centralizing elements–for sake of mission. However, I can’t let myself get too attached to those centralizing elements–like facilities and a FT church planter.

One of the biggest sources of frustration I’ve seen in the lives of pastors and church planters is the lack of money. When too little money comes in, it not only upsets the church planter, since now s/he cannot do the stuff that s/he’d like to do, but it also causes other frustrations. Frustration that the paycheck won’t be coming this month. Frustration with the people in the church who aren’t giving. Frustration that things are out of the church planter’s control.

In retrospect, I would have tried to start out bi-vocationally. I would have also tried to go longer without renting an office space (I got it thinking we’d start doing an ESL outreach out of it right away, but that hasn’t happened yet). I would have also spent more time fund-raising. The more you can do to be less dependant upon internal giving, the better.

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2 Responses to “Money Money Money”

  1. Frank Johnson on September 22nd, 2004 1:26 pm


    Came across your blog a couple of weeks ago and have been reading from time to time. This post interested me because I would have thought that decentralizing (eliminating the need to invest time and money in buildings, staff, etc.) would make the church more missional, not less.

    I’d be interested in hearing more on why you think centralizing increases the capacity for the local church to be missional.


  2. Van S on September 22nd, 2004 1:38 pm

    Frank–I think it is a balance. If everyone involved in Missio Dei were located in this area and had a missional mindset, I think it would be much more feasible to be more decentralized. Having centralizing elements injects a level of momentum and intention into a church plant. It is a “fix” that can help get things going. Unfortunately, the fix can become the norm.

    In Paul’s day, it seems that Paul left healthy churches alone. However, if a church was unhealthy, they went into a sort of “remedial” stage where Paul would have to deal with their problems and perhaps send an apostolic envoy (like Timothy or Titus). During this season of unhealthy, the church needed some centralization (apostolic ministry) to get back to a place of health. This is why I feel the need to start more centralized than I’d like–because we need to relearn what it means to be church. As we learn that, we will become more and more decentralized.

    The funny thing to me is that many of the models for success being pointed at today are highly centralized. If we look at that through the lense I offered in the previous paragraph, that means that our prominant models are inherently unhealthy.

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