RCA church plants vary a lot in terms of the funds needed to start them. Most require, on average, $200,000 in outside support over three years.
A parent church can typically commit to $50,000 over three years, though some provide all the funds for a new plant. Resources coming from the new people reached through the plant and the core team can supply a higher level of the plant’s resources each year.
Depending upon classis, region, sister-church relationships, and the amount of the RCA start-up grant, most new congregations can build a balanced budget from year one.
Each RCA church planter is urged to personally generate $25,000 in funding over the first three years by effectively sharing his or her vision for the plant. A strong vision needs to be able to draw provision, and planters need to be comfortable with being stewards of the resources given.
In addition, in its New Congregation Plan, each church plant commits to giving 10 percent of its offerings to a supporting planting agency (the parent church, the classis planting fund, or an RCA mission share for planting). This may seem counterintuitive since the plant is receiving so much outside help, but there are long-range benefits:
- The new congregation learns to trust God and tithe beyond itself from the beginning. It’s better to learn that principle early, beginning with small offerings.
- The new congregation shows gratefulness and a relational connection to supporting RCA partners.
- The gifts fuel more planting and gain favor with other existing churches, countering the criticism that new plants suck up resources rather than giving back. Instead, the new plant displays an example of maturity in missional thinking and action.
- The new congregation will be in a good position to organize as an RCA church in a reasonable amount of time, since assessments on a membership basis will actually be less than the practice of giving 10 percent of every offering back to planting. This gives the church plant an incentive toward maturity rather than dodging responsibility.