5 Best Practices for Funding Your Mission

Every Lead Pastor is responsible for financing the mission.  As a Lead Pastor you have to own it.  We can delegate a lot of the responsibilities to the financial team, business administrator, or executive pastor, but at the end of the day the buck stops with you.  The degree in which your church is funded lands squarely on your shoulders.

At the same time, many Lead Pastors shy away from this role.  It’s almost as if they feel less spiritual if they think and talk about issues related to funding the mission. Because of this, it’s not unusual for churches to go under-funded or for significant ministry opportunities to simply never happen.

We could all use more funding.  Vision simply has a way of always out pacing our resources.  I’m convinced that we can be better funded with a little intentional effort.  Here are five best practices for funding the mission that I’ve observed and practiced over the years.

They talk about money.  Sometime during the 80’s we got the idea that we shouldn’t talk about money.  We went to great lengths to avoid the conversation.  We even invited people not to give when we passed the offering plates or baskets. At the same time, leaders who finance the mission don’t back away when it comes  to talking about money. They recognize that it’s their responsibility and they are intentional about talking to their teams, staff, and entire congregation.  Not talking about money doesn’t overcome the challenge of financing the mission, it only intensifies it.

They are conservative operators.  They expect God to do great things, but at the same time they realize they must live within their means.  This often plays out in three common ways:

  1.  They set their budgets on what they know, not on what they assume.
  2. They keep their staff percentages well below the norm.
  3.  They have a system for monitoring their budget regularly.

They help others win financially.  They understand that if the people they shepherd win, the church wins.  They are intentional about systems being put into place that teach people how to budget, save, and get out of debt.  I am convinced that the number one way of financing the mission is a long-term financial ministry.  This should be the first thing we staff and fund as a church, and not the last.

They understand the importance of focused campaigns.  They understand that a capital campaign is really not a capital campaign, but a spiritual initiative.  God uses these times of focused intensity to disciple His people, create movement, and fund his mission.

They are accountable and they communicate. They openly thank people for their sacrifice.  They connect their giving with real life change and ministry.  They are financially accountable to the body.  They create trust.  They are over- the-top in communicating through some kind of end-of-the-year report.

Here are five practical applications, based on these best practices, you can apply this year.

  1. Preach at least one series on giving.
  2. Budget on 90% of your income and keep staffing to 35% of total budget
  3. Launch a financial ministry that includes regular classes on getting out of debt, saving, and giving.  Include financial counselors.
  4. Schedule a capital or generosity campaign.
  5. Present an over-the-top end-of-the-year report.

We would love to help you win in these areas.  For your generosity and campaign needs don’t hesitate to reach out to us, the Auxano Team (www.auxano.com), or email me at davidp@auxano.com.

> Read more from David here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Putman

David Putman

David is a Lead Navigator serving on the Auxano Team, the category leader in vision clarity and vision focus campaigns. He is also founder leader of Planting the Gospel a non-profit ministry committed to helping churches move discipleship from a program to a culture. He has been involved in church planting for over twenty years as a planter, strategist, and coach. He is author of I Woke Up In Heaven, The Gospel Disciple, Detox for the Overly Religious, Breaking the Discipleship Code, and co-author of Breaking the Missional Code with Ed Stetzer. He latest book The Gospel Disciple Journey will be released in February 2014. David’s life mission is to help others discover the simplicity, centrality, and beauty of Jesus and his ways. David is married to Tami and they have two awesome kids, and two even more awesome grandkids.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

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The 4-Point Email: Sharing Best Practices with Your Team

Excellent guest service – whether in a local church, community non-profit, retail business or service industry – is really the compilation of lived-out best practices. Those benchmark behaviors that may be simple and common sense, but they are set as standards of practice by everyone in the organization.

Best practices can be produced in a board room.

  • Respond to questions within 48 hours.
  • Answer the phone before the fourth ring.
  • Do what you do with excellence.

It can happen: best practices can come from the board room. But not most of them.

Most best practices come about in the moment. A one-time occurrence implemented by one team member that gets discovered and, because of its impact on communicating value, is repeated as a norm throughout the entire team. That’s what happened with our guest services four-point report .

A couple years ago our volunteer usher leaders began to email each other following each weekend of services. By Monday afternoon an email was circulating, celebrating highlights and asking questions about how to solve a challenge that had popped up. The email created conversation that birthed an ongoing best-practice-making machine. The Four-Point Email was born. It’s this simple:

  •  Share a highlight from the weekend.
    • Anything positive counts.
    • A story about a guest interaction.
    • A high point from the service itself.
    • A nugget from a team member.
  •  Tell about a challenge the team encountered and how it was solved (if one existed at all).
    • crying baby in the middle of the service.
    • The need for more wheel chairs than we had on hand.
    • An overcrowded room with standing room only.
  •  Tell about a challenge the team encountered that you still need help with.
    • You dealt with it as best you could, but ultimately you know a long-term solution is still needed.
    • Not enough handicap seating.
    • Confusing signage.
    • Lack of information about an event or ministry.
  •  Finally, share the name of an up-and-coming leader.
    • We’ll all pray—for that person and for the leaders who will be pouring into him/her.
    • This person may not be named an apprentice yet, but we all have our eyes open and our mentoring radar on.

This four-point email keeps the communication going well past the weekend. Weekend teams are not isolated; they are united. Unique approaches are not limited to any one leader; they are sharedBest practices are not protected by a team; they are celebrated and practiced by the entire ministry. 

How are you establishing and implementing best practices?

(Revised excerpt from How to Wow Your Church Guests: 101 Ways to Make a Meaningful First Impression, Best Practice #94, pages 131-132)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Waltz

Mark has spent the past 25 years serving and leading people. While many of those years were focused within the local church, he brings marketplace experience from retail management, as well as career development and training. Regardless of his work or ministry context, he is about investing in people, because he believes people really matter. Think of him as a "people advocate." A sought after consultant and trainer, Mark has helped local churches of all sizes improve their guest services experience. Today Mark serves as executive pastor at Granger Community Church where for the past fourteen years he has been a unifying force, overseeing adult relational connections, including groups, guest services and volunteer strategies. As Granger’s chief guest services practitioner he still inspires teams of volunteers who make Granger Community Church a relaxed, rejuvenating and relevant experience for members and guests. Mark also oversees Granger’s multisite campuses.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.