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5 Common Mistakes of Church Budgets

Every pastor and minister looks forward to their church’s budget season.

Well, not quite.

If you talk to most pastors and ministers about their church budget, it is usually met with either a sigh or a groan. Much like a conversation on personal budgeting.

But a church budget is a powerful tool. So it is important that we pay attention to them and how they are created.

Here are five common mistakes every pastor and minister should avoid when it comes to their church budget:

1. Viewing it as a necessary evil.

As mentioned, a church budget is a powerful tool. It plans out the allocation of resources for the year. This allocation has a significant impact on the trajectory of the church for that year. Preparing a church budget is a leadership opportunity, not a necessary evil.

2. Not reflecting the church’s mission.

Here is how to leverage a budget to lead—make sure it reflects the vision and mission of the church. It is usually a mistake to simply adjust a prior year’s budget for future ministry. Every budget should reflect the mission and vision for that upcoming year, not the mission and vision from ten years ago.

3. Not using math for anticipated giving.

Not that faith should be totally absent. But remember, it is God who gave us math. So use it. Use it to ensure that you don’t create a budget that you cannot meet. This leads to discouragement, not just for the staff, but the church as a whole.

4. Not assuming that future adjustments will be necessary.

A budget is a plan. And, almost always, plans have to be adjusted. They probably won’t go exactly as you anticipate. So go into the new budget year assuming that changes will occur. Help your staff to understand this as well.

5. Not being prayerful during the formulation.

You are using individuals’ gifts to God for ministry. So there should be a sense of gravity when preparing the budget. Stewardship should be on the forefront of the mind. So cover the budgeting process in prayer.

Church budgets can either be a catalyst or a hindrance for a church’s vision and mission. Pay attention to the church budget, and avoid these common mistakes.


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