Many churches today take a “use it or lose it” stance on money in the name of trusting God to provide more when it’s needed. But even though we trust that God will bless us, we need to have a plan! Proverbs 27:23 reminds us: “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks; give careful attention to your herds.”
Make your plan on paper, on purpose before the month begins. Let’s take a look at what that plan needs to include to be as effective as possible for a church.
Building Your Budget
To build a healthy church budget, ensure that these things are true from the get-go:
- The budget’s priorities reflect the church mission statement.
- It’s based on projected income, not just the past.
- It includes a spending plan.
- Leadership agrees on the plan.
- The plan is communicated clearly to all involved.
The budget won’t work perfectly the first quarter. No one’s does! That’s why you need to put a review process in place to keep it functional and realistic.
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Look at it monthly and quarterly to keep things on track, and make adjustments where they’re needed. Don’t fall into the trap of leaving the budget alone until there’s a shortage or an emergency!
Breaking the Chains of Debt
Proverbs 22:7 states that the borrower is the slave of the lender. Why would it be any different in the church? Leaving the bride of Christ in chains isn’t wise for plenty of reasons. Borrowing money drastically increases risk, magnifies mistakes, and hurts—or even destroys—cash flow for any family, business or church.
On top of that, studies show that about half of the churches in America are in debt. Most churches spend a hefty amount on debt retirement every year. Imagine how much more we could do for the Kingdom if the church were free from debt! Taking a good hard look at your church’s debt is an absolute key to building a sound financial plan.
If you have some debt now as a church, don’t beat yourself up! The Bible doesn’t say borrowing money is a sin—it’s just biblically stupid. There isn’t one place in the Bible where debt is referred to in a positive light. In fact, it’s described in several places as a curse!
If you make a decision to stop borrowing money today, you’ll be in better shape from here on out. Like Dave says, you can’t fill up a hole if you’re still digging out of the bottom! Putting a halt on debt will go a long way in helping every other aspect of your finances work more smoothly.
Dave’s team has a saying: “Work like it all depends on you, but pray like it all depends on God.”
When making and living by your budget, prayer is the key that unlocks your ability to join God in what He is doing. That’s not an excuse to sit back and do nothing. It’s simply the admission that no matter how hard we work, it’s God’s power that fuels every good work, and it’s God who crowns our efforts with success.
Learn to live in the freedom God created you for—to grow, serve, and follow His call. Find out how Financial Peace ChurchWide can impact your life and the lives of everyone around you.