Is It Really Free?
Is free, really free? I am sure many asked that question when Stadia announced that all services would now be free of charge. I did. Really, free?
It really is.
And it now means that churches aren’t required to give back a percentage of their offerings to Stadia to help fund the ongoing effort to plant new churches. As the leader of a church that gives back to Stadia six figures every year, I was inspired. I think this is a game changer in the church planting world, and here are three reasons why:
1. It removes an obstacle. Planting a new church is expensive. Getting assessed, hiring staff, branding, equipment, facilities, rentals, project management, coaching conferences—it all costs money. Often times, planters take funds from more than one organization that asks for some sort of payback. I have seen planters struggle to payback three or more organizations for their investment in the new church. Over time, the payback creates undue financial stress and can prevent a new church from gaining financial traction. By offering initial and ongoing services for free, Stadia has removed an obstacle that can get in the way.
2. Others will follow. We don’t need new churches. We need new churches that are effective at growing people and presenting the Gospel. And we’re not doing it fast enough. I think we will see other church planting organizations figure out a way to provide more services for free so we can move further, faster.
3. Existing churches will be inspired to give more. When I first heard the news, I immediately thought, “How will they pay for this?” Then my next thought was, “This is inspiring.” Our church gives back a significant amount. It started as an obligation because of the financial investment Stadia made in us. And now, with the obligation removed, this year we will give back more than we ever have, because we are inspired. Generosity inspires generosity, and it’s certainly true in this case.
Not only are services now free with no strings attached, but, in my opinion, Stadia’s services—having been sharpened over their sixteen-year existence—are the best out there. They have assembled a team of professionals that wake up every day and live the mission of planting new churches. I think we will look back a decade from now and see that this radically generous and risky move by Stadia was one of the catalysts that attracted strong leaders to plant churches, inspired more churches to be generous toward church planting, and helped all of us charge the gates of hell with a little more intensity.
Lead Pastor, Lifepointe Church