Your budget is speaking. It’s telling you what you value most. If you buy many gadgets and pay your staff poorly, it’s saying, “I care more about toys more than people.” If you say you care about children’s ministry but never invest resources into constantly improving it, you’re saying, “Children don’t really matter to me or my church.” Looking at your budget will give you a good reference as to what’s most important to you. If you want to make Sunday a priority in your budget, look at three areas that must be given the appropriate resources to excel. They are teaching, worship, and children’s ministry.
#1 – Teaching tools. Teaching is everything having to do with the communication of God’s Word to the congregation. This means having the right books, software, and computer to do the job of studying. This also means investing in video if you want to communicate using that medium. It may mean buying something to give to people as they come in as an illustration for the message. It could mean a set design or prop that is going to drive the point of the message home. I believe you should spare no expense when it comes to the message. If spending that amount will increase the likelihood of life change, go for it!
#2 – Worship. Worship is not just singing, but also a life that’s lived to the glory of God. But for the sake of our discussion, I will limit it to congregational singing in the Sunday service. Too many churches I walk into have speakers that are blown and making awful noises while the basketball court was just repaved! I was in a church recently where half the lighting didn’t work in the sanctuary, but they had just purchased brand new appliances for their kitchen. Call me Fred Sanford, but I nearly had a heart attack, right on the spot! If we learn anything from the Tabernacle in the wilderness, it’s that God was very interested in creating an experience when His people came to worship Him. I believe we must do the same in our worship experiences. Does the band have the right equipment? Are there enough speakers to fill the room? Is the video gear totally outdated and difficult to use? Is there enough lighting to create the mood you want? A first-time guest will spend more time in your sanctuary than in any other area. What is this area communicating to them?
#3 – Children’s ministry is the one place where you don’t want to skimp! Go all out in your children’s ministry, and make due in other areas. The most important thing to a parent is their kids, so show them you believe that, too, by creating an incredible environment for kids.
You need to communicate this value to parents in three ways:
1. Safety. Disney World’s number one value in their theme parks is safety. Why? Because they understand that the most important element to gaining trust comes through the parents knowing their child is safe. Parents will have a hard time leaving their kids in a hallway that you’ve “converted” into a classroom. Look at your children’s ministry through the eyes of a guest. You wouldn’t leave your kids in a hallway with two disinterested teenagers and neither will they. Make providing the safest possible environment for children your primary goal.
2. Cleanliness. Parents are concerned about the environments in which their kids are. They want these spaces to not only be safe, but also clean. If you are in a portable facility, work extra hard to make sure that school, community center, or theater are spotless in your children’s areas.
3. God’s Love. Parents are expecting you to do this. Prove you can provide a safe, clean space for their kids, and they will trust you to teach their kids the Bible.
However you slice it, Sunday is the most important day of the week. It’s the day you interact with the most people that are connected to your church and all the guests they brought with them. So, put your best foot forward by keeping Sunday first in your mind, your resource allocation, and in your planning.