Having a church budget is a necessity to keep the doors open and the lights on, but a church budget should also help accomplish the goals of your ministry. Before starting with numbers and pen to paper, start with your vision.
What is the Vision of your congregation? What work has God been calling your church to do? This will help if you have to make tough resource decisions regarding programs or ministries. You will need to know how additional or fewer resources may affect each area.
Identify specific goals
Involve Ministry Work areas in determining the priorities and budget needs
Once your vision is in place, and you have a clear understanding of missional priorities, look at both income and expenses.
What is your congregation’s income? What are the sources? Do your sources align with your church’s values?
Establish a reliable income projection considering the following:
Significant events or unusual circumstances/changes
What are your congregation’s expenses? Are they based on your vision and mission? How do they help you achieve the church’s goals?
Build a budget with details - Provides greater insight/transparency to the budget
If expenses are higher than projected revenue, review and make changes to areas that least impact your vision and goals
If revenue is higher than expenses – Determine what ministry/mission is most in need of additional funding or put into reserves for future needs.
Communicating the Budget & Actual Results
Good communication of a budget is critical. Once your budget is in place, provide regular updates via the Treasurer’s Report and a report from the Finance Chairperson.
But remember, financial reports need to be clear and accurate but don’t emphasize the numbers only. Tell how your congregation’s giving has impacted lives!