3 Reasons Why Church Budgets are Really Important

Church budgets. I can hear the groaning now.

For those who oversee their church’s budget, budgeting season creates personal stress and a series of complaints. Everyone wants more. No one wants less.

Very few envy the person who has to make the final budgeting decisions. Most would rather have a root canal.

But like personal budgets, church budgets are incredibly important. And they often get a bad rap. A church budget is not only vital for a church’s financial health, but for their mission. A church budget is an essential tool for every church leader. It should not be ignored or avoided.

Here’s why:

  1. They reveal mission. If you are a church leader, you know the mission of your church well. You are passionate about the mission. You talk often about mission. But does your budget reveal the mission. You have heard it said that an individual’s checkbook provides a glimpse of their priorities. Church budgets are similar. The way you allocate resources throughout the course of a year should reflect the church’s mission.
  2. They reveal the game plan. You have goals for your church. Your budget should demonstrate how those goals will be reached. Year after year, too many churches simply tweak the prior year’s budget. The result can be a decade old game plan. Your budget, your game plan, should show how you plan to achieve your church’s current goals, not those developed ten years ago.
  3. They keep everyone accountable. They keep people from overspending, and they keep people from underspending. I know. Underspending sounds like a point of celebration, not concern. But if your budget reflects the current mission and game plan, underspending may be a red flag. Let’s say that one of the year’s goals was to ramp up the children’s ministry. Underspending in the children’s ministry’s budget may be an indication that there is a lack of follow through with the game plan. Overspending can be a problem. But so can underspending. And a budget can keep everyone accountable.

Church budgets are tools for mission, not just necessary evils.

So let me tell you about Envelope3.

Envelope3 was created to help those who develop and oversee church budgets to make better decisions. In addition to ongoing resources, Envelope3 provides members with an incredible budget analysis and comparison tool.

Be sure to check out Envelope3. It’s more than a church budget. It’s a blueprint for mission.

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One thought on “3 Reasons Why Church Budgets are Really Important

  1. 1. Yes, they do reveal mission. Leadership Journal’s article on “normal church budgeting” showed that 16% of giving was for ministry beyond the church door and 84% was for ministry mostly inside the church door to bless mostly those who are “giving”. This is considered normal. The two biggest pieces of the pie were hired staff and facilities. When I recognized this, I was very convicted as a generous giver. I was consuming 84% of my “giving” to bless mostly me and other wealthy Americans. I asked God if there was a way for me to practice ALL of church the way he asked for it and devote 100% of my giving beyond me? He showed me exactly that in the Bible. It has always been there. No hired Pastor will tell me about this.
    2. It does reveal the game plan. The most expensive ministry is the the weekly Bible lecture. We call it “teaching” but it never accomplishes the goal of teaching. The students are never “fully trained” to “be like” their teacher. Luke 6:40. They need a sermon every week of their life until they die. No one graduates.
    3. I don’t think there is any accountability for leaders reproducing (2 Tim. 2:1,2). Everyone is very content with perpetual dependency. The path to reproductive teaching is far simpler than the complicated route to delivering a 30-45 minute lecture every week. The plurality of “Let the elders who lead well…those who labor in word and teaching…” is almost never found in practice. Hiring anyone means one dominant man teaching.

    I’m not trying to be mean. The system is well loved but severely broken. For “the sake of the gospel” we should fix it. “For the sake of the gospel” is why Paul ministered “free of charge”. 1 Cor. 9:15-23. There is much more to unraveling the 3 texts that are used to justify professionalized leadership and used to nullify 8 texts where Paul teaches against this routine. I offer it “free of charge”.