Money Matters: Wisely Budgeting for Growth

Budgeting is a great time to develop a plan, with the right leaders, for spending. I prefer approaching budgeting with a growth mentality. If you do so, your budget will be bigger than it was the previous year. A growth budget is a step of faith, but wisdom will require you to have a plan for spending if the growth in giving isn’t realized.

Instead of displaying wisdom in spending, shrewdness in planning, and generosity in giving, church leaders often succumb to the spending values of this world. Sadly many churches are collective reflections of American spending habits-spending all we have and even money we haven’t yet received. Church leaders teach by their spending; therefore, we must display a better way to live by how we manage the resources God entrusts to us. Part of this, I believe, means spending less than you receive as a church.

But how do you reconcile this with a growth mentality? Budgeting in a growing church is very challenging because it’s difficult to predict what giving trends will be in the future. The current growth isn’t always consistent nor is it clear what the new “per-person” giving will be. Often those new to the faith don’t start giving immediately. The practice of simply multiplying the current growth rate by the current “per-person” giving is a good starting point, but it’s really more reflective of the past than predictive of the future. [To do this, a church simply estimates the number of new people and multiplies that number by the current “average per-person” giving]

The budgeting season is a good time to wrestle with the tension of growth and uncertainty, faith and wisdom. You can reconcile a growth mentality and shrewd planning by using the budgeting time to objectively and proactively plan spending so that you’re not making chaotic decisions later.

How could this look practically?

(1) Have a trigger plan for unleashing new budgeted resources. Mark the areas in your budget that will be “released” after the giving reaches a new consistent level. Once the weekly giving reaches that point, the trigger is pulled.

(2) Develop a plan for spending freezes. With a small team of wise people, plan what spending would be frozen at specific levels of giving. Examples: You may freeze new hires until a consistent level of giving is realized. Or if giving drops to a certain point, certain expenses are suspended.

Establish a flexible framework during budgeting so that clarity is gained before it’s needed. It’s much easier to have objective and level-headed discussions before the moment is urgent.

Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about budgeting clarity.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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