By Autumn Wall
Church plants need funding. They need mission teams. They need a meeting location. They need practical supplies for ministry.
But more often than not, these are the big pieces that planters typically have faith for God to provide—or they wouldn’t have stepped out in faith to plant in the first place!
My husband and I are planting a church in Indianapolis, Indiana, and we have lots of needs.
But the thing that breaks our hearts the most is seeing planter after planter give up not because of these large pieces, but because of the small things that are wearing on them day to day.
These small, but taxing things include:
- Doing marriage counseling with a struggling couple in a Starbucks because they don’t have an office space.
- Too many details on their plate and not enough people to help take care of them.
It’s these little things that will tank a church planter’s energy and ability to keep pushing through to see the big things of God and, as we have seen in our city, cause these planters to give up long before they should.
So how can your local established church support a planter in your area and keep them on the mission field? Here are a few ideas of overlooked needs most church planters have and ways you can meet those needs.
1. Printing Costs
The cost of printing Sunday bulletins, music for musicians, flyers for events, or song sheets for a small group can easily take up half of a church’s budget.
It’s amazing how much these things cost to print at your local print shop, which is what most plants use for their printing needs.
I’ve literally heard church planters say, “I would give my right arm for the use of a copy machine!” So, allow a planter to utilize your church’s copy machine in your church office.
Even if they pay for the cost of the copies they make it can save them a lot of money.
2. Office space
Especially if your church is located near a church plant, give them usage of an empty office in your facility that they can use for counseling, sermon prep, partner meetings, leadership meetings, etc.
Most planters use their local coffee shop or their home for these things on a daily basis and would be so thankful for a private place to meet people.
Often it’s a great outreach tool to have a leadership planning meeting in a public place, but when it comes to ministry leadership there are sensitive topics and issues to discuss that can be very awkward in a coffee shop.
Loan them a few servant-minded individuals during their Sunday service. They might need greeters at the door, extra kids workers, security in their parking lot, musicians, ushers, or a trusted prayer team.
As you begin a church plant it’s difficult to make the decisions on individuals you can trust in certain areas of ministry, so having some trusted background checked individuals who are willing to just serve the needs of the plant can help create a safe environment to launch the church.
Kids workers are especially needed. Reaching families is a high priority for most church plants, but finding children’s workers they can trust in a young congregation is always a challenge.
Many plants have only one or two trusted adults to care for the children in their congregation—and those adults end up missing the vast majority of church events and services in order to serve the families they are reaching.
Loaning a church plant a few of your background checked and trusted adults for special events, leadership meetings, or Sunday services is a game changer.
4. Moral support and friendship
Just like any other church leader, a church planting family needs friends who understand their struggle as leaders.
Invite them to your home for dinner or to join your family for a day at the park. It’s likely they are asking others around them for mentorship or wisdom in church leadership, but they also need to have a place to just be a family.
Just be a friend to them and give them a safe place to be themselves and rest.
Most planters have moved to another state in order to plant the church and they are probably not bringing in much of a paycheck.
Just as it is difficult to find kids workers for their worship service, they likely don’t have family or trusted friends close by to babysit their children or the funds to hire someone for regular date nights.
Once you’ve established a friendship with the nearby church-planting family, your church can help a ministry marriage remain strong by offering the couple free babysitting when they need a date night.
Maybe offer a once-a-month free babysitting date night to the couple for the first year they are planting to get started.
You’ll be surprised at how much more effective the planting couple can be in ministry when they have time to grow and encourage their marriage in the midst of the challenges of a new ministry.
6. Everyday, practical life necessities
What practical needs do they have? Do they need toilet paper? Kids’ toys? Pack n’ Plays? Offering envelopes? Reams of paper?
Have the planter make an Amazon wish list. Then, plan a church “baby shower”—since they are giving birth to a congregation—and have your congregation flood the plant with all of these practical gifts as they get started.
7. Faithful, solid core members
Encourage people from your church who are solid believers—leaders in your church, generous givers, and servant-hearted attenders—to pray about joining the church plant.
For most church plants, having even one or two of these types of people can multiply the effectiveness of their ministry instantly.
Remember—we’re all about building the Kingdom, not an individual church—so freely give your best and trust God to raise up others in your congregation to fill those holes.
God will always take care of your congregation even as your best go off to serve Him in other areas, so be a church on mission and send out your best with your full support.
It doesn’t take a massive congregation with a huge missions budget to support a church plant. Every church of every size can be a part of supporting church plants in simple and practical ways.
The first step is to find a church plant and start the relationship. Find a planter who needs your support.
AUTUMN WALL is an Indianapolis, Indiana, pastor’s wife, mom, worship leader and author. She’s a co-author of Across the Street and Around the World, a book of outreach ideas.