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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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); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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