Would you believe me if I told you we had a great meeting in July on budgets and fundraising? That we could talk money is good and practical ways, getting in a laugh or two, and even benefitted from those who also had ideas to share in regards to ministry budget?
If you can’t believe it, you should… because it was an amazing meeting. Thanks to Crossway Publishers, all of our women brought home a sample chapter of Chasing Contentment, and BH Publishing provided beautiful scripture magnets featuring Romans 14:19. I loved this scripture because it speaks to exactly what we do as a ministry.
Peace. Unity. Building up one another.
Over the last few years we have given away some great books to our leaders, and we had a small stash of leftovers. We used this as an opportunity to let the women grab a title they may have missed in the past.
Over the next few days, we’ll recap the highlights from this training event.
We’re going to begin with identifying some of the most common mistakes we make in regards to budgeting. These are most common mistakes among ministries that are self funding versus receiving any budget from the church. It is important to recognize these mistakes, understand why they are considered mistakes; so that we can move forward into the future with a better grasp on the importance tracking our spending.
5 Common Ministry Budget Mistakes:
- Failure to Keep Track of Ministry Spending: If you hope to have a ministry budget in the future, you need to know what you are spending today. Whether the money comes from a church budget or through donations made by the ministry team, we must keep track of our current spending in order to prepare for future spending.
- Plan Events Without Considering the Budget: Quite often as we plan events, someone will volunteer to purchase that item and count it as an offering to the church. This is problematic for several reasons. First, we can exceed our intended budgets without even realizing it. Second, we can get too comfortable assuming that others will fill the gaps in our budget needs. Third, as leaders of a ministry we are called to be good stewards of the funds we have been trusted with.
- Not Reporting Ministry Expenses to Pastor/Finance Committee: Many Pastors or Finance Committees may be entirely unaware of the cost of running your ministry. They may not be aware that potluck luncheons still have expenses from childcare, speakers, and to materials distributed. Just because you have not been given an official budget, or have raised the funds to fill in the gaps, doesn’t mean you don’t need to share these expenses with your overseers. A quick report on your annual ministry expenses may open up the conversation for a budget or budget increase in the future. If your spending exceeded the given budget, make sure to include how you filled the funding gap (fundraiser, anonymous patron, etc.).
- Assuming that No Budget Means No Money: Just because you are not given an annual budget doesn’t automatically mean that there are no available funds. You may be able to make a special request for specific events, purposes. Additionally, your need may cross over into another budgeted area. If you were planning a community outreach event, the church may have funds available in their outreach budget that can be funneled toward your event.
- Your Ministry Lacks Vision/Direction: It can be tempting to plan your events month by month, however that is counter productive to budgeting. Churches budget for an entire year, if you want to be included in the budget there must be a plan for the ministry. You are more likely to get your ministry budget approved if you have planned for how you are going to spend it. It is especially important to show that your ministry plans are part of the vision of the church versus working independently. A planning session for budgeting should include determining the number and types of events you will have over the course of the year and what your anticipated costs are.
On Monday, we are going to dive into the budget topic more specifically. Be sure to check back in!