Every Pastor and staff love the budget planning time of the year. You know you love it. Come on, tell me you love it! OK, enough of that. We endure it - right? Right! This year the process is a bit more difficult than normal. Money is tight everywhere. Costs are rising on everything. And then there is the good ol health care issue. Here are some tips at getting through the planning this year with less stress than you thought.
1. Keep the vision alive! Reducing vision is a receipts killer. Even in a tough economy. People give to vision. People need to see, hear and experience vision. Now is not the time to shrink vision. Instead, sharpen your vision. Stage your vision. Just do not kill your vision!
2. Focus on Stewardship! Often church budgets contain poor stewardship. Be smart in every area. There is a difference in being steward compared to being tight! Evaluate, prioritize, and see what you can do as a better cooperate steward. It is time to get rid of all the "golden calves" in our budgets and think, plan, and operate as stewards.
3. Share the process! Talk from the pulpit with your people about all the areas that your team are considering and the goal of your church being a good steward in the budget process. Get creative. it will help your people understand and buy in to what your team will present.
4. Keep it Biblical! Ministry and missions are the Biblical reason we exist. Make sure you continue to fund these.
5. Avoid fads! Stick to your vision. My staff came up with the phrase "Don't get distracted!". Staying focused on the vision God has given will take you a long way down the road toward being a steward church.
6. Keep the faith factor! When times are tough it is easy to turn to human ability. We forget that faith is the Christian life. It should also be the life of a steward church. Don't go crazy! But don't forget about faith! Call your people to take steps of faith!
7. Know your banker! It all belongs to God. He will provide. We may have to improvise but God will bring us through!
8. Reduce debt! Even in tough times, reducing debt builds confidence in your people. Show them it can be done! Challenge them to step up and help make it happen. Include the benefits for every ministry in your church.
9. Breathe and press on! Take a deep breathe. It is not as bad as it seems. Keep moving forward and watch God work. He is good at it! It is His church!