Finance Fridays: Storytelling & Annual Reports

charts and graphsOver the last few weeks, churches across the country have been putting the finishing touches on their annual reports and presenting them to their congregations. These reports, and the meetings that go with them, always intrigue me as they present an opportunity for churches to share the story of the church, how the church is making a difference for the Kingdom, and what is coming next. While many churches do a great job of this, many more turn this into a discussion about the church budget.

While budgets are an important part of a church life that needs to be discussed, we also need to be intentional about communicating the most important part of a church life: how are we pursuing Christ and making a Kingdom difference? Discussing line items, giving units, and projected revenues is needed, but if we don’t connect these necessities to the larger vision of the church at every opportunity, we run the risk of losing focus on what we are truly called to do.

Earlier this week I attended a local church’s annual meeting. The congregation ate together, sang together, and prayed together. We heard stories of where the church had been over the last year, and what God was doing. The Lead Pastor then painted a picture of where we are going in 2014, and explained how the budget will enable us to do so. The entire evening was intentionally built to tell the story of how God is using this church to expand His Kingdom, rather than to explain the numbers. The annual report was distributed electronically (check it out here), and it is designed to tell the story of what God is doing as well.

The annual report, and the meetings that accompany it, give church leaders an opportunity to connect with their most dedicated members and remind them why they are so committed. We have a choice about how we engage with them… do we lay out budgets in mind-numbing detail, or do we tell the story of God’s move in the previous year, and call them to be a part of the upcoming adventure?

How do YOU approach the annual report and business meeting?


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through MinistryBriefing.com and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.