I’m a huge believer in budgeting. Not only personally, but for church as well. Gary’s post is so true that in the first year you can’t really set a budget because there’s no pattern to work from. But after the first 12-18 months you may be able to start considering budgeting in a little more concrete fashion since you will be able to see some trends forming in your church.
At our last staff meeting, our administrator handed out a P/L sheet for each ministry and a set of guidelines for preparing a budget (If you think this might be helpful, let me know and I’ll post it). Once everyone prays and knows what their individual ministry areas want to accomplish and need to make it happen, they meet with our administrator and I. At this time we either give them the thumbs up and tell the to go for it, or we tweak it up or down depending on what they’re trying to do. One of the things I do with our staff is let them know where each ministry area stands in importance. This is a difficult conversation, but a necessary one. From day 1, we’ve said that Teaching, Worship, and Children’s Ministry were the top tier areas that we would resource. That means other areas may not get everything they want. If you don’t have this conversation with your staff, every ministry area will think they have the same level of importance and therefore should be funded equally. That leads to a mess.
By the time I meet with each staff member to go over their areas of oversight, I’ve already prepared a number for the overall budget for the next calendar year that I take to our board of directors. Once we agree on the budget with the board, I let the staff know and we’re off to the races.
I would encourage every Senior Pastor to budget for the upcoming calendar year because you budget is simply your goals in dollar form. What you spend the resources God has entrusted to you shows what ou value. If you say Children’s Ministry is second to none in your church, but you don’t resource that ministry, don’t kid yourself. What you spend dollars on shows what we value most. It’s true in our personal lives and it’s true in the church as well…