Most years, putting together the church budget is an exercise in negotiated arm wrestling. Each ministry leader submits their wish list budget to the finance team, who then “discover” the proposed budget is far beyond reasonable expectations for success. The finance team then plays the “bad guy” by telling each ministry leader to sharpen their pencils and reduce their budget before the finance guys take an axe to their requests.
Because of the unique economy we find ourselves in this year, I suggested a more proactive plan to our elders.
This year the elders got out in front by determining what the overall target should be for the budget. Ideally, it is both prudent as well as faith-stretching. For our church, the budget target is 5% less than last year’s budget.
We met last night with the ministry leaders to communicate the budget goal. As they plan their respective budgets over the next week, they know what the parameters are. We also reminded them of the purpose and goals of the church. Since a budget is a plan expressed on paper, we encouraged them to consider how their respective budgets will help the church achieve her purpose and goals.
If nothing else, the elders have taken a more visible leadership role in the process, as well as created a more team-oriented atmosphere among the ministry leaders. We’ll see how it turns out.