Church budgeting may seem mundane, especially in a small church. However, it is a critical process. Your church’s budget both reflects and directs the heart of your church. We can look at a church’s budget and see what it is passionate about. When done correctly, the budgeting process can be a tool to steer the church in a particular direction.
Here are three suggestions to consider in your budgeting process, especially regarding church revitalization.
Ensure Your Budget Reflects Your Mission.
The typical church budgeting process is a bit backward. We usually look at what was spent in the previous year and then either increase or decrease that particular income or expense line. When this is our approach, we never think outside the box of what we have done in previous years. In a church revitalization effort, the church budget needs to be built to facilitate the church’s goals, vision, and mission.
I understand there are things in a budget that do not change. For instance, you will always have utility and personnel expenses. But think through ways to pursue your mission. Are there things that need to be done to better minister to young families? Are there needs in the community that your church can work to meet? Are there outreach opportunities? These mission-oriented items should be reflected in your budget.
I know of one church that had three main categories in their budget. This was their basic structure.
Operations: Personnel, Facilities, Grounds, Supplies
Internal Ministry: Member care, Discipleship, Children & Youth, Worship
External Ministry: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Ends of the Earth
This allowed them to be very intentional with how they approached all aspects of their ministry and caused their mission to remain focused.
Budget for Increased Ministry, not Maintenance.
Here is what I mean. You are seeking, by God’s power, to revitalize your church. Simply maintaining what has always been done will not accomplish that goal. How can you budget for increased outreach? What can you do to disciple your people more effectively? What can you do to send the gospel further? Don’t just hope this happens; budget for it to happen.
This may not be something you can do the first year but trim the budget for an internal ministry to expand an external ministry. Work to make your budget more externally focused.
Each Year, Budget for One Big Project
One year in my church, the big project was resealing the parking lot. It wasn’t overly exciting, but the people got excited about it, and it improved the perception of the church in the community. The following year we focused on making the traditional Sunday School space more conducive for small groups. The following year we had grown from 2 kids in the church to over 30. This necessitated an updated nursery area.
Having a project each year gives you and your people something to look forward to, it builds excitement, and can push your ministry forward. Please understand that these projects do not have to be large. Our parking lot project was $3,500. Each year, as the project amount increased, so did the momentum.
Church budgeting can seem like a mundane process. However, when done intentionally, it can be a tool that propels your church revitalization effort forward.