Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A lesson in shopping

I was asked by a couple a few weeks ago how they could get their family budget in line. Spending was out of line and needs were growing by the day. As we reviewed several months of activity, I noticed that a large portion of money was spent during "tax free" weekend. The story was told of great deals and how much was purchased.

There was a problem though! Things of importance were still needed. School was starting and teachers had not posted the list of supplies until after the first day. Tax free was long gone. So was the money. While this couple shopped, they noticed what my family had noticed several years ago. The items they purchased tax free were now on sale at 10 to 30 % off. Do the math - tax free cost more than waiting three weeks.

Sales and gimmicks are designed for one thing - to make you spend money! They are not "take it to the bank" savings and can lend in you over spending. So here is a good thing to remember. When you see a SALE sign or TAX FREE advertisement, think BEWARE!

Actually, stop and think. You might remember that other items will be needed soon and the things on sale are suddenly not that important.

This principle works well for ministry offices! It can save you money needed for ministry at home and at the office!

Friday, August 22, 2008

What a budget reveals?

When thinking of the church budget, what does your budget reveal about your ministries focus and purpose? It may seem strange in many churches to ask this question. Most budgets have "staples" that have been there for years. Fixed expenses are going to increase as the economy worsens. But yet, take a long look at the question that MUST be answered: What does the budget reveal about who and what and how, we do ministry?

Here is a quote from a Baptist Press article by Dr. Ron Herrod, a friend and man who has lived this principle out his entire ministry who is now serving as President of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelist:

"The two functions to accomplish that goal are to win the lost and grow the saved so they can win the lost, Herrod said. Anything on the church calendar or in the church budget that does not meet those two functions is a waste of time and money, he noted."

I think his comment is right on track! Take a long look at your budget with this quote in mind, it just might open the door for God to bless!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Is Your Budget Robbing You of Ministry?

The normal conversations around typical churches on Mondays include topics about Sunday; who was there, who was not, what was good, what was not, and more. You may also find that "machines" like copiers and such are also included. Did they work? How old are they? Can God save a machine?

In preparing for your budget data collection, let me challenge you to examine the contracts and leases on your office machines!

Did you know:
  • The average church spends more on interest in leases than it does in Children's Ministry?
  • The average church spends twice the price for leases on copiers than the copier really costs?
  • Have you thought about those postage machines? Think about them!

Good stewardship needs to begin in the office of our churches. As churches struggle to provide the funding for needed ministry and pay the ministers what they should, a great place to look for adjustments can be found in the office leases and service agreements. You might be surprised how much your church can save, and thus put into real ministry, without sacrificing in the area of needed equipment.

Two churches in the past (3) weeks have saved over $30,000 over 5 years in these areas and are now putting that money into reaching and ministering to people. The benefits of living STEWARDSHIP in the office will bless you and your ministry more than you can imagine.

Call us if we can help. Eklund Stewardship ministries has partnered with a great company that works with us in assisting you in meeting your office needs without robbing your ministry budgets. Give us a call. We are here for you!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fear that leads to tradegy

This morning I recieved a phone call as I left the parking lot of my oldest sons High School. The preacher on the phone was seeking help concerning how best to overcome his greatest fear - Stewardship. The whole idea of teaching STEWARDSHIP was causing him to sense a need for some type of therapy or better yet, someone to walk him through the "how to". As I shared with this young Pastor, my compassion grew realizing that he had not been influenced in the area of stewardship like I had been at his age. How many today are moving away from the subject as a whole. How many Pastors today are not able to teach due to their lack of application in their own lives.

Thanksgiving for men like Dr. Bob Eklund, Dr. Jerry falwell, Dr. John Bisgno, Dr. David Hampton and many others flowed through my blood as I tried to pass along what had been shared with me over the years. Stewardship is not something to be feared. Stewardship should be embraced. It is our plumb line with all things pertaining to Christ and our relationship with Him.

Stewardship is more than money. It is the essence of our daily walk with our Lord. We are called to be stewards of all things; earth, gifts, talents, time, and money. I have found that when I embrace STEWARDSHIP in all areas, the power of God is so evident in my life. Freedom is found in the faithful act of being a good steward. Ministry is birthed when stewardship is practiced.

Just yesterday, I had recieved notice of a family struggling due to an illness their son had. On the spur of the moment our church recieved over $1,200 for this family while also giving to meet the budget needs of our ministry. Pastors before me had taught stewardship and the people had learned. Yesterday was just one of hundreds of examples that I could share with you.

As you move into a new week and as you begin your budget process, be sure you embrace personally the practice of STEWARDSHIP! It is not something to fear. However, when it is left alone, one might begin to realize something truely to FEAR!

Have a great week being a FAITHFUL STEWARD!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Budget Nightmare

Most churches are entering the period of time when the 2009 budget begins developing. The approach to this required process is different depending on the church, the Pastor, the history, the people in the church, the current meeting or not of budget and so forth. So what is most important about this time that does not change regardless of the above differences?

1. Keep evangelism at the top of the list!
2. Keep Missions at the top of the list!
3. Involve people in the process - it shares the ministry and grows commitment!
4. Watch your fixed expenses. Review all contracts and shop insurance contracts.
5. Promote, advertise, and share vision with the whole church as you begin the process!
6. Allow people to share how the ministries of the church are assisting them in spiritual growth.
7. Get rid of "golden cow's" in the budget! They bog you down!
8. Consider adopting a spending plan instead of the usual BUDGET approach.

Remember that VISION is key in helping to avoid the sometimes too frequent "budget spats" that occur in many churches. Teach your people Biblical Stewardship and lead by example.

Eklund Stewardship is here to assist you in this process. Email or call us to see how partnering with us can change your nightmare into a great dream of Biblical reality.