A Southern Baptist church in Los Angeles may look totally different from one in New York City, but they will have several things in common. They worship the same God. They hold the Bible as their ultimate authority. They affirm a statement of confession called the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. And they rely on some type of financial funding to survive.
Every church requires funding. For Southern Baptist churches, that funding can come from a variety of sources. Tithes and offerings received by a church plant may not be enough to keep the church afloat on its own, especially if the church is brand new. The North American Mission Board (NAMB), partnering Baptist state conventions, sending and supporting churches, and individual donors all come together to help church plants thrive in the midst of financial hurdles. Keeping in mind that most church plants are funded through a blend of financial resources, below are four primary funding scenarios for church plants in North America.
- Sending Church support — If a church plant has a Sending Church, often that church provides funding for the plant or for the primary planter’s salary. Sometimes a Sending Church might keep the planter on its staff and the plant might be viewed as a “satellite” of the main church. NAMB’s goal is to one day see that every church plant has a Sending Church.
- Church Planting Funds (CPF) — For some church plants, NAMB partners with Baptist state conventions to provide funding. Many church plants and their missionary planters (whether one person or a group of people) are jointly funded through money set aside as CPF in each convention’s Cooperative budget. The amount of funding is ratio-based, depending on the convention’s strategy, as well as each church plant’s age, trajectory and location.
- Self-Funded/Mission Service Corps (MSC) — Some church planters are self-funded, also known as Mission Service Corps or MSC, either by raising their own funds or working another job (bi-vocational) to provide an income. NAMB encourages this funding model so that the planter is constantly interacting with the unchurched community in their second job. Pastors who are bi-vocational are on the rise in North America, especially as costs of living in major cities increases.
- Church Planter Care Network — Other Southern Baptist church plants don’t receive outside financial support, usually because the church is able to support itself. In these cases, the church planter leading the church can still be part of NAMB’s Church Planter Care Network. This network shows love and appreciation for its church planters by providing free spiritual resources, gift cards for birthdays and spousal dates, and abundant opportunities to network with and be encouraged by fellow church planters in their city.
The majority of these funding models rely on the funds given to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO). When churches and individuals give to AAEO, they’re directly supporting church plants and missionaries all over North America who depend on funding. NAMB’s Church Planter Care Network is funded by AAEO, and even the self-funded model relies on missionary resources the AAEO funds create.
Our calling as Christians is to advance the kingdom of God as we share the gospel and see more people come to life in Christ. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering helps ensure a strong financial foundation for many Southern Baptist church plants in North America so that the kingdom work of church planting can be effective.