Budgets are complicated. Budgets are political. Budgets convey meaning and carry baggage. Budgets are important. Budgets support ministry.
So how do we start fresh and gain new understanding with ministry budgets?
1. Gather the right people – It is important, as with any financial conversation, to have the right players at the table. You need both the emotionally invested and the functionally minded, the caring compassionate and the administrative processor, the carrier of the legacy and the fresh-faced friend. You need to have the full picture when you start talking about budgets, otherwise you are just perpetuating what has been, or at the worst falling victim to group think or agenda railroading.
2. Start from scratch – Put last year’s budget away and talk about what you are going to do in the next 12 months, without the burden or pressure of “what has always been done”. Talk about what it will honestly cost, not just make-believe numbers or hypothetical guesses. See what comes to light out of this conversation first, then go back and let past facts and figures influence the conversation.
3. Sleep on it – After having a powerful and meaningful conversation, type up your notes and then sleep on it for a night or two. Don’t hash and rehash, just let it settle for a few days. If you feel as passionate (or dispassionate) as you did in the original conversation after the break then that is probably a good indicator that you are on the right track!
Stay tuned for step 2, fighting the good fight against budget zombies….