Around this time of year, many churches are beginning to prepare ministry budgets for next year. We get calls with leaders trying to figure out how much should go into each category to help make sure a church is sound financially. As a very broad, general rule, we have recommended that churches consider using one third of the budget for missional giving, one third for facility and operational expenses and the other third for staff compensation. This kind of a budget would be a goal as we know that many churches have suffered financially during the economic downturn and we have seen budgets so bare bones that 80% or more was for paying the preacher and the other 20% just to keep the lights on and doors open. That does not leave much room for outreach and evangelism efforts.
As the economy begins to pick back up and individuals begin to come back or grow in giving to the church, we encourage you to take a look at how the budget is structured at your local church and make sure that budget reflects where your heart is as a church and helps you grow the mission of your church. This may be a perfect time to revamp the budget and prioritize resources to the places that will help to focus the ministry most effectively. Money and financial assets are only resources to assist ministry to get done and not barriers to ministry happening. Give thanks to our Lord for the great abundance God has given us and do the very best you can with the resources that have been given. If we are solely focused on God’s work, our efforts will be blessed and we will do far more than we realize can be done with what we have. Thanks be to God for the blessings of which we are aware – and the ones we are given that we don’t even recognize!