Finance Fridays: Stated Values and the Budget
A recent blog post from Eric Geiger shared a great story about aligning a church’s budget with its stated goals. Serving at a church in Florida, the church found that it was spending an astronomical amount on air conditioning costs… instead of its mission. Here is what Eric did:
In one sense we could articulate that the AC served the whole mission of the church. But in another sense, we wrestled with the possibility of funneling some of that expense to other areas. We were involved in local mission endeavors: financing a woman’s center that helped ladies choose not to abort, feeding the homeless meals on Sundays, etc. We figured that if we would raise the AC settings 2 degrees throughout the facility we could save more babies and feed more people. We did the same calculation on lights, and encouraged staff and leaders to think of the least of these in their monitoring of the AC and lights.
They say you can tell much about what someone values by looking at their checkbook. If we were to look at your church’s checkbook, what we it tell us about what your church values? Church leaders need to be consistently, and intentionally, telling the story of what our congregation values. The budget is no exception to this. As you begin the process of preparing for your next year’s ministry budget, take a hard look at it… what story is it telling about your church? While facility and personnel costs are likely to be the greatest percentage of your budget, what staff positions are they funding? If one of your church’s stated values is having a thriving children’s ministry, does the percentage of your budget allocated for children’s ministry back that up?
This summer, as you prepare for budgeting season, take a hard look at your budget and see what story it tells, and whether that is the story you are trying to tell.
What story does YOUR church budget tell?