If you look at the calendar the realization that planning of the 2011 church budget should already be in progress; or soon to start. Churches across America are experiencing tough times in the area of finances. Tithing (Budget Income) is down to some of the lowest levels in decades. Pastors are failing to preach on Stewardship more than one to two times annually (if that). Expenses verses income in many churches are riding high. Some churches are cutting ministries and some are considering elimination of staff positions or redefining them while lowering salaries.
In tough times it is important to remember some key insight into church budgets. Members of churches with backgrounds in business will be quick to jump on the latest models being implemented in the secular world without understanding the effect those models will have on ministry and missions. Implementing key principles in planning your 2011 church budget will make a difference in the life of your church. It will make a difference in missions around the world.
1. Remember that the church is in business to do ministry and missions. Cutting ministries means reducing the job that we have been called to do.
2. Every church has waste in the budget. Be honest in your process. Waste is not ministry - it robs ministry. Look for the waste and eliminate it. Golden calves in church budgets are Satan's tools.
3. Evaluate how you do ministry. Often we spend money on things that we are too lazy to do ourselves. The "how" of your ministry should require effort from human beings more than it does money.
4. Salary issues will be tough this year. Be smart when considering raises and cuts. Staff leaders should practice Stewardship in their daily lives while churches should care for the servants God has led their way. You may not be able to give much in the area of raises this year yet remembering this and planning for future raises is vital to maintaining a great staff.
5. Do not cut missions or ministries that are reaching people. Look for the multiple small areas in your budget that you can in actuality do without or do different. Literature such as magazines etc. are a prime example of things that can be cut and applied in areas of ministry and evangelism.
6. Teach Tithing and Grace Giving. The tithe is ten percent of the gross income. Is the beginning point in giving. When taught correctly, teaching on Stewardship will free your people from all types of bondage. A church that is taught biblical stewardship will become a generous church.
7. Pastor and staff must lead the way in giving of the tithe and offerings. Live what you preach. If you are not living it, repent, live it, and preach it! Do so in that order.
8. Get creative in highlighting the ministries that the church budget supports. Creative and positive fruit will do wonders to the development of cheerful givers.
9. Get a vision for what God is calling your church to do. Share this vision and commit to this vision. Never forget that God always pays for what He orders.
10. Know with confidence that God will bless a church that is faithful to go after His vision. Stop the sin of worry and share with your people the joy of seeing God do some God size things in your midst.
The team at Eklund Stewardship is here to assist you in the area of Stewardship. Budget development and formation assistance are available. Give us a call. We would love to partner with you!