‘Tis the season to be jolly… or begin budgeting, whatever. If your church operates on a January to December budget cycle, now is the time to start thinking about 2016.
Many churches get nervous when talking about money. Years of baggage, poor theological interpretation, awful news stories of malfeasance and just a cultural attitude of skepticism add to the tension that the church has to navigate when talking about money.
So in this season of summer and budget preparation, take these strategies to being creating a clear, open theological dialogue around money, resources and stewardship.
1. Consider your budgeting purpose. Are you regularly, prayerfully considering the great responsibility of managing God’s gifts? Are you naming and clarifying the purpose for which your church community exists? Are you evaluating your budget in light of this purpose?
Church budgets should be focused on Christ-centered purposes.
2. Reactive vs. Proactive style. Do you ask your ministry groups to react to pledge drive totals or articulate hopes for the years to come in advance of campaign? Do you create a narrative of what could be and name the needed resources? Do you adapt vision to pledged resources?
Reactionary thinking usually is rooted in a spirit of
scarcity and anxiety, while proactive budgeting leans
into a spirit of abundance and trust.
3. Timeline. Budgets need time to breathe, much like a fine wine. If you rush the process, you will likely not discern the Spirit’s movement in the midst of the process. (Yes, the Spirit is present in budgeting too.) Do you leave time to consider the budget over more than one leadership gathering? Do you surround the budget process in prayer and then sit/pause and listen for God’s guidance?
“When the Spirit says move, you gotta move.”