Budgeting season will be most likely be more challenging for church leaders this year. This pandemic year and the financial burden it's created for your church hasn't been easy to navigate.
But here you are. And as the Lord's work continues through your local community of faith, I invite you to consider two essential ingredients related to church budgeting.
I ran two departments in a large church. We had nine or so staff and a combined annual budget upwards of $150,000. Our teams were encouraged to let vision form their budgets. But during the budget process, there had to be a strategy and plan attached to the dreams.
Of course, with all the ideas, wants, and wishes, leaders must consider the cost. But the following two ingredients are essential, especially this year.
Ingredient 1: Value
The weight of stewardship rests heavily on those responsible for approving budgets. It's a huge role. And because of this, these leaders can tend to view budget requests only through the financial lens.
But another lens every budgeting leader should use is the value lens. Efficiency has value. The right tools – and, at times, even the best tools – for the job have value. Quality, in addition to the quantity, of work has value.
So, consider the value for the cost. The return on your investment may be well worth the price.
Ingredient 2: Time
I follow a group of church staff members on Facebook. Someone asked a question recently related to their workload due to the pandemic. It was sad to see the stress and tension being expressed by many in the group. I had concern for these people because it appeared they were being pushed to burnout levels by their leaders.
We all understand church work – what and who it's for. But everyone has a capacity. We mustn't push our teams beyond their capacity for unsustainable periods. Eventually, your teams will need more help or workload reduced.
During the budget season at our church, we never quantified the hours it would take to accomplish the projects we were funding. Yet, our staffing at the time was over 50% of our budget. I often had this crazy thought: what would it look like if our church budgeted our employees' time like we did our funds?
As a good steward, can you use the financial and value lenses to understand budget requests better? In what ways could you value the time your staff invests in the works your leaders put forth? What is their time worth? More now than ever, we need budgets strong and manageable, with our support teams strong, rested, and healthy, as well.
If you're interested in ways to help your communications process work more efficiently, connect with our team. We'd love to have a conversation to see how we can help.
Don Wambolt has over 25 years' experience in leading church communications. More