Finance: Game changing ideas for Church Budgeting

I’m pretty skeptical of most of the practical advice I see in the Book of Discipline. I have a hard time imagining that any good and timely advice could come from a group of 900 people meeting every four years where many of them seem to have a political agenda. Whether the advice was an accident or on purpose, the Discipline has some golden advice for budgeting.

So here’s the advice in short:

  • Only budget what you are willing to fundraise: It’s easy and common to set a budget an unrealistic amount…and call it faith. Faith and works go hand in hand. Before you approve a budget, ask yourself, “Am I willing to put in the work to fund this budget?”
  • People support what they create: Do all you can to involve others. When committees and staff create the budget, they will be more likely to own it. You either put in the time in helping them create it or you put in the time nagging them to follow it.
  • A budget is a plan, not a prediction: I’m used to creating a budget and then making notes on why certain lines are way over or under. Why not periodically amend the budget as allowed by the Discipline? If you take a fresh look at the budget every three months, you’ll be three months smarter and end up with a much better plan going into the end of the year. This works really well when you are breaking down your budget by month or quarter.

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