What are the best funding models for City Gospel Movements? This is the question we get asked all the time. Because each city movement is situated in a unique context, funding models vary. However there are a few examples of funding models that we have seen set movements up for a sustainable future. Keep reading to learn about three of these models.
Sustainable Fundraising for City Gospel Movements
There are so many ways a city movement gets started in a city. Typically it begins organically with one or two believers asking questions like: “What if we were a more united front of believers working for the good of our city? What if we really could do more together? And what if Jesus’ desire for us to be in perfect unity could actually happen?” This is the beauty of the beginning, a starting point, a consensus of believers to work together for the gospel to be proclaimed in their city through a unified effort of loving their city.
But then what? Who is going to do the work and how do we fund it? We are often asked about the best funding strategies and models for city movements. We may not have the silver bullet, but we have talked with a lot of people and organizations that have created successful and sustainable funding models. Although there are many ways to crack the code, we will highlight three examples that we feel have done excellent work in the areas of fundraising and creating a sustainable organization.
No Funding Required
The first example of a sustainable model is no funding required. This is possible, although it does require an incredible communication and ownership from all parties involved. A great example of this is a group of pastors in New Jersey led by Jim Bushoven who says “I’m huge on the John 17 unity thing so that we can be effective witnesses. That’s why we try to get people praying together for their city/county.”
Jim and other NJ leaders are effectively facilitating a statewide city movement with no overhead called NJ CityServe. Everyone on their team has full-time ministry jobs and is committed to being a part of a bigger story for New Jersey.
Integrated Funding Model
The second example of a sustainable funding model is when an organization is a subset of a for-profit company like what is happening in Columbus, Ohio at Pray for Columbus. Krista Sisterhen is leading a group of four staff personnel who are funded through a for-profit organization that recognizes the opportunity to love their city through building strong church unity.
Krista says, “We decided early on to not be competitive with other nonprofits or churches in the area. We have never done any traditional fundraising because that would be a competitive posture against nonprofits and churches. Most of the money comes from profits from business.”
Multi-Sector Funding Model
And the last example we will discuss here is when churches, marketplace leaders, and individual donors invest in the idea of a united movement in their cities. This model expresses that individuals and organizations are stronger together as a whole city effort. Mark Harris and 4Tucson have done an amazing job of creating a sustainable funding model through partnerships all around the city. They even have ‘missionaries’ who raise their own support and then come on as an employee when there is funding for that position.
This work is challenging, but people who do this work have caught a vision for what God is already doing in a city. This type of person is a vision caster and persistent. If you keep pursuing what you feel God has invited you to join, the funding and the sustainability will come.