I’ve spend a lot of time talking with Pastors over the last month about budgeting. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of information out there to help guys figure out how to budget during the strange times we’re living in.
So here’s a few thoughts I’ve been sharing about budgeting with the Pastors I interact with:
1. Be conservative – I’d rather be conservative now and change the budget mid-year because we have a surplus. But I don’t want to paint myself into a corner by approving a budget hat is too aggressive.
2. Be Realistic – I think you can plan for growth if you have grown in past years. I would just be careful that you don’t move from faith to presumption. Look at your last couple of years and use that as your template for next year. Don’t fall into the “But we’re going to triple in size next year, so let’s triple the budget”. That’s a recipe for problems.
3. Don’t cut the most important things – You may have to make cuts if you fell short in your budget this year, but don’t cut the things that matter most: that would be things like making Sunday the best it can be, your assimilation process, and evangelism.
4. Don’t Neglect Training – I’d rather cut buying a piece of equipment than cut training for me or our staff. A new printer isn’t going to get your church to the next level, training will. Yet we tend to cut training first because we don’t see the immediate result. Investing in training is always a great decision.
5. Take care of your staff – Church staffs work extremely hard for less than they could make in the business world. So before you neglect raises, hold off on buying that new computer and make sure your staff is taken care of.
There’s a lot more that I think is important, but these are the non-negotiables to me.