We know that our approach to missions and church planting is unorthodox. The normal route is to get your degree and then turn around and raise capital while working part-time until funds allow you to focus on fundraising full time. This is a difficult process for church planters, and generally longer for missionaries who are raising long-term monthly support teams. There is nothing wrong with this approach, and we have many friends who have successfully done this.
Before we graduated in fall 2007 we talked about what it would look like to get to Paris to plant this church. I had already raised roughly $40,000 to spend a year in France with Campus Crusade, so we knew that if needed we could go that route again. From watching friends of ours raise support for Europe we saw two general trends. It could take up to 2 years to get the money raised after you start, and monthly support goal were often lower then they realistically should have been (likely to help them get back overseas faster).
As we talked about options before us we saw a path that was not available to most, to start and run a software company that would become our primary funding vehicle. We would have the 4 years it would take to get through seminary, and then the two years following that we would otherwise have spent raising support to build the company. After doing research and consulting mentors of ours we chose to go this route.
There are two primary reasons for this choice. It will help us with our visas, and will go a long way in helping us establish ourselves in our future neighborhood and community. We both have proven tangible skills that we can offer to France, and to our future networks. Finally it will allow us to afford to live in a city as expensive as Paris right away. Many missionaries and church plants end up starting far outside of the city center because of the high cost of living that is 30% higher than Minneapolis (rent being 75% higher – view comparison here).
We know that Europe is often overlooked for mission work because of cost and a perceived lack of need. In the future we’ll discuss these points in more detail.
We are missionaries, we are church planters, and we are also blessed to be able to launch a software company as well. If you know anyone looking for church software tell them to check out Fresh Vine and help us get to Paris.
Photo Credit: malias