Planting a church is never easy.
There are many challenges a church planting team will need to overcome, and there’s one threat often lurking beneath the surface ready to close the doors of a church plant—money.
Regardless of the church planting model you and your team chose or the denomination or network you’re affiliated with, your church plant will have financial needs. There are a variety of expenses you’ll need to cover, such as rent, equipment, insurance, and salaries to name a few.
It costs (a lot of) money to plant a church, and the length of time it takes to raise the funds you need can take significantly longer than you expected. Not raising the financial support you need or building a generous church culture to sustain your efforts is one of the primary reasons many church plants don’t succeed.
“Most churches fail within three years,” remarked Andrew Jennings, the director of production for Kalos Church. Andrew went on to say, “We didn’t want to fail within the first three years due to a lack of financial support, so we put together an extensive financial plan and went after it.”
Before diving into Kalos’ partnership with Tithe.ly, let’s take a brief look at Kalos Church.
Kalos Church is a church plant outside of Seattle, WA in Bellevue, WA. Pradeepan Jeeva and Amreitha Jeeva pastor the church.
Pastor Pradeepan was born to a Sri Lankan Hindu refugee family and he was led to place his faith in Jesus as a sophomore in high school. Before planting Kalos, Pastor Pradeepan led youth and young adult ministry for eight years and obtained a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree from Oral Roberts University and
Pastor Amreitha grew up in Kansas after being adopted from India. She gave her life to Jesus as a young girl, and her love for the local church has continued to blossom over the years.
Watch this video to get a better snapshot of their heart for the LORD and for the church they’ve been called to plant in Seattle:
For Kalos Church to lay a solid financial foundation to help them fulfill God’s call upon their church, the leadership team initially focused on rallying recurring givers several months ahead of their public launch in September 2017.
Andrew had this to share, “We took the entire month of March (2017) to encourage people to sign up for recurring giving. By the end of March, we raised over $6,000 per month in automated donations.”
As a guide in their initial efforts, the leadership team clarified how much money they needed to raise, and then they broke that number down into monthly recurring donations. For example, if they chose to raise $120,000, they would have focused on leading 333 people to give $30 per month through recurring giving.
For Kalos, this initial effort has led their church to embrace automated giving which accounts for roughly half of their monthly donations today.
By the time Kalos opened their doors to the public, they were able to raise $150,000 and close to half of their financial support was made through online giving.
For Kalos, Tithe.ly is more than a tool they can use to raise financial support. It’s also a way they can keep track of the financial well-being of their church.
“One thing I appreciate is the online tools and dashboards to find trends. [Tithe.ly] makes it easy to track giving and know what’s coming in.”
The data Andrew can easily access enables him to keep track of the church’s giving trends and to better forecast for their future.
As Andrew and I spoke on the phone last week to the sounds of the bustling Bellevue community in the background, he told me that he spent several months researching different online giving and mobile giving solutions.
“Tithe.ly was specifically on our list because no money was coming out of our pockets to get your services.” Andrew shared how not paying for additional fees was a tremendous benefit for a church plant focusing on raising money for ministry.
Not only was Tithe.ly cost-effective, he also pointed out another essential point: “[Tithe.ly] looked user-friendly, which was a big deal for us. I had a feeling that if we went with Tithe.ly that anyone could easily support Kalos.”
Another feature Andrew appreciates is the ability for their congregation and financial supporters to be able to “Cover the Fees” when they make a donation. “The extra feature where you can cover the fees was huge. More often than note, people are covering those fees.”
When making an online donation, there is a small fee associated with the transaction. However, with Tithe.ly, people can choose to cover the fees, which means the church or ministry they’re supporting will receive additional funds. For Kalos, “[This] was another big win."
What is more, Andrew pointed out that “everything we needed to do was easy to implement immediately. I really appreciate how easy it is to use Tithe.ly.” Andrew added: “[Tithe.ly is the] best mix of low costs and user-friendliness. You don’t have to sacrifice on anything to get the best results for your online giving."
One key factor that led Andrew and Kalos Church to partner with Tithe.ly was a shared vision.
“I spoke with someone [from Tithe.ly] who knew why I wanted to raise money, and they wanted to help us raise money because we all have the same goal,” shared Andrew.
Whether you’re in the process of planting a church or leading an existing church, fundraising and giving is really about Kingdom partnerships—churches, people, and organizations who partner together for the cause of Christ. Providing the local church and ministries with the tools they need to increase giving and reach more people is the driving force behind Tithe.ly.
“Knowing [this] about Tithe.ly, I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else,” Andrew shared.