Every church has to prepare a church budget every year. Before the congregation receives it, a substantial amount of time and a significant amount of people have prayed, talked, and worked hard to prepare it. So, how should the process work?
While there are many logistical tasks to be done, this endeavor is truly a spiritual exercise. In preparing a church budget, it is so tempting to turn this into a pure financial exercise that we attempt to “baptize” with business methods.
A church budget isn’t planning how to spend our money – it is praying regarding how to steward God’s money.
That’s the difference. While we utilize business and financial principles, we cannot simply turn this into a business exercise. This is ministry. This isn’t us determining how to best spend what belongs to us. This is stewarding resources that God has given to a local congregation.
This time shouldn’t be a stressful time but a humbling time. It is a time to acknowledge how good God has been to us and to move forward prayerfully as we plan.
What a Church Budget Needs
Every dollar budgeted and spent places a value on something and so this process needs a few things:
- A lot of prayer – Church budgets should never be a cut and paste from last year. It also doesn’t mean that everything should always increase either. Through prayer, we should seek the Lord to see what is needed to minister in the coming year.
- A lot of honesty – In a healthy context, honest conversations are never a problem. Leaders can express honestly what they need and others can challenge the requests honestly. Regarding stewarding God’s resources, it is necessary to have honest, healthy dialogue.
- A lot of selflessness – It is easy to approach a budget and think how it only affects one ministry area. With ministry dollars, everything affects everything. A dollar spent here is a dollar that cannot be spent there. Working on a budget shouldn’t be done on a ministry island but with the reality that the big picture must be kept in sight among the many line items.
- A lot of faith – As we celebrate what God is doing, we should not get prideful or hesitant. Our church leadership desires to lead with a humble expectancy. We don’t want to push but we also don’t want to have to be pushed. As we go forward, we go forward in faith that God continues to build his church.
How You Can Help
Even if you aren’t on staff or a part of a ministry leaderships team preparing the budget, you have two key roles:
- Pray. Pray that God continues to grow his church, people give sacrificially, and your church stewards those resources well.
- Give. As you continue to give to the church, you are making a huge impact on Kingdom work starting in your city and going out to the ends of the earth.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.