Home Equipping Leaders Path 1 / Church Planting Budgeting for Church Plants

Budgeting for Church Plants

By Rachel Gilmore

Stock handing money from wallet

Adapted from the Lay Missionary Planting Network curriculum and from the 2013 New Church Handbook (www.umnewchurch.org).

Predictably, church budgets in the first few years of a new congregation allocate most of their monies to pay the pastor and to start worship, missions, and discipleship ministries. See below some possible spending options for the first two years of a new church start, simplified into broad categories and percentages rather than listed by actual monies allocated. Knowing your planting community context, you will want to consider which option best reflects your situation and project your income and expenses accordingly.

Projected income = $ ___________ (100% of income FROM ALL SOURCES offsets expenses below)

Projected expense = $ ___________ (100% of expense allocated by categories below)


Part-time planter

Full-time planter

My Projection

Planter salary/benefits



Office (equipment, rental, supplies, etc.)



Mission/connectional giving






Other staff and ministries






Other (something unique to my context)?

Likely expenses to consider in budgeting:

  • Planter: Salary, housing, health insurance, continuing ed.
  • Office: postage, printing/copies, supplies, office furniture, computer, equipment (assumes space in planter’s home or provided by another congregation and not rented monthly)
  • Mission: giving back a portion of your income for missions and to honor your connectional partners and obligations
  • Worship: site rental/utilities, etc.; maintenance; liability insurance; worship equipment; nursery equipment; curriculum; storage/transportation of equipment
  • Staff and ministries: music, children’s, youth, etc.
  • Advertising/Marketing: web site and hosting, Facebook ads, flyers, posters, banners, direct mail, etc.

Simple Budget Plan for Connectional Tithe:

Because United Methodist churches pay apportionments to support conference and other connectional ministries, some new churches practice tithing to prepare for these expenses down the road. This discipline can help new congregations move more quickly toward becoming self-sustaining ministries.


Projected %

Connectional Tithe


Salaries and benefits (planter, other staff)


Local ministry expense (education, outreach, worship, mission)


Building (rental/purchase, utilities, maintenance, insurance, etc.)


Rachel Gilmore is the former Director of Recruiting, Assessing & Training for Church Planting with Path 1. She stays away from foliage but loves to plant other things like churches, preschools, and ideas in the minds of those looking for innovation and inspiration in the church.

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