What if—instead of providing money for new church plants on the front end and then phasing out those subsidies—we did the opposite? What if we don’t fund things until they’ve begun gathering? What if we fund the things that are already working? Think in terms of investing in provenness.
Planters start by engaging culture and forming communities. Why pay planters to do something that all Christians are supposed to be doing? Besides, being bivocational increases your street cred (as Hugh Halter recently put it)—even if you’re just part-time. Otherwise regular people don’t understand how you don’t have a job. They wonder if you just sit around in your house all day.
How we used to support ministry is changing. Now, I’m not opposed to receiving funds. Paul did. But he was a proven church multiplier. The only people who should get paid are those who are equipping. It should be easy to spot those to invest in. It’s a matter of good stewardship—invest in those with the fruit. As Neil Cole said, “Don’t invest in potential; invest in proveness.”
Great insights: “invest in those with fruit. “Perhaps in another blog you might comment on how we measure “fruit.” It is important to distinguish between real fruit and what sometimes gets mistaken for fruit.
From an SBC perspective, if we take this approach, Bob, we need to stop focusing on institutions and focus on the Body that is being drawn together.
To Keith’s point, we need to find a way to quantify and value genuine biblical fruit and stop gauging “proveness” by counting nickels and noses.
On the other hand it is very stressful for a pastor to be bivocational and maintain a family and his own spirituality. It takes a while to see fruit. The important thing is to see if the planter has a well thought out plan and the resources needed to carry out that plan. Three important factors in a successful church plant: 1) people…a core team, 2) money, 3) time. The planter needs people to share the responsibility, money to fund the plant (which includes a salary…if possible) and time, i.e. the planter needs time to make contacts and make disciples…and do so in a way that does not neglect his soul and his family.