THRIVING IN MINISTRY

PODCAST

Creating a Successful Church Budget

This content is written for Talanton Church Services. How to Create a Successful Church Budget: Randy Willis

 

On today’s episode of the Thriving in Ministry podcast how to create a successful church budget. We know that church finances can be one of the biggest challenges that pastors will face and we want to equip you with some simple steps, as you prepare your church budget. 

 

This is the Thriving in Ministry Podcast brought to you by Talanton Church Services and Daily Pastor. We know that church leaders want to be better equipped for ministry. You need encouragement to not just survive, but thrive in the place that God has called you. 

 

I am Kyle Willis, Founder of Talanton Church Services, and as always we are joined by Dace Clifton, a pastor in Central Texas. Today we have a special guest, Randy Willis, a retired Executive Pastor out of Northwest Arkansas. Welcome to the show! 

 

Randy it is awesome to have you on the show. I am really excited to talk about church budgets, because I know that church budgeting can be a blessing or a curse depending on how they are laid out. So this is going to be a very profitable time for us to talk about this. I think it is budget season now, at least at my church. 

 

I think we are going to talk a little bit more about that, but most churches run their fiscal year simultaneously with the calendar year. So as we are recording this in July, if you are not starting to have those conversations about your churches 2021 budget. Frankly with all the fluctuations that have happened in 2020, I am pretty sure the pastors and church leaders listening today are already starting those conversations for their next budget season. 

 

No doubt, I know that we are. Randy it is so cool to have you have on the Thriving in Ministry Podcast. One reason is because my parents were profoundly influenced by your father. I know we have never met, but your dad, Avery Willis, wrote Masterlife. In 1986, my parents went through Masterlife and it really was the tool that God used to totally change the trajectory of their lives. My parents were church people and my dad would even venture to say that prior to that point were kind of nominal Christians. God used Masterlife to really accelerate the spiritual growth of my dad’s life. He ended up becoming a pastor and was in law enforcement for 40 years and has been a bi-vocational and sometimes a full-time pastor for about 25 years. That all got started by Masterlife. Your dad wrote that and just a profound impact on my family. I can say today that my dad is one of the most godly men that I know. So Randy, we are familiar with Masterlife or at least I hope some people are. If not, they need to check it out, because it is still out there. Randy, tell us something about your dad about his influence as a man of God or as a father. Would love to hear something. 

 

First, I would like to say thank you for sharing that. Masterlife now has been out for almost 40 years, and in the book world, that is generations upon generations. Yet it is still being used by God. I hear stories like yours periodically. The fact that I even hear those stories is just a blessing from God on how he has used Masterlife in so many lives. So I appreciate you sharing that. As far as my dad, I guess what I would say and there is a lot of people who will find out who my dad is and they will tell me great stories and compliments and all this other stuff. What I would tell everybody is that my memory of him is that he was just a regular guy. I mean he didn’t stand on any pedestal and he did not put on heirs. In fact, one of his favorite lines was that he believed that God gave him children just to keep him humble. Because we were always saying “Dad, why are you wearing those black socks playing golf? Come on! You can do better than that!” Here he was the Vice-President of a large missions organization and author of 15 or 20 books and we were dogging on him because of his black socks and stuff like that. He took it all in stride and so he had no ego about him. He was all about wanting to be about the kingdom of God. 

 

That is so awesome and encouraging to hear. For myself, it is inspiring. I think for maybe a lot of our listeners, you don’t the impact you are having at the time. He was a man, just an ordinary man, yet God did something profoundly good through him. In a future episode I will have to have my dad on. He’s not the most tech-savvy person, but nevertheless, we will have to have him on because it really was one of the things that God used to change the trajectory of his life, and as a result my life. Here I am now, 40 years old doing my best to follow the Lord and serve his kingdom. So really cool and Randy thanks for being here today. 

 

Well Dace I appreciate you sharing that. As you use the word nominal Christian maybe to describe your father at one point in his life. I think Avery, my granddad, would have used the same terminology as well. There is a Dwight L Moody quote that said “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man that is fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man!” He really took that, in fact that is the title of his biography, that was later written “I Aim to Be That Man”. So as you describe that, he did leave a legacy for me and our family, but also he was a real human as well. As my dad Randy, who is with us today, described him wearing black socks. I can also recall one evening, one of my wife’s (Meg), one of her first Christmases with the family. He came out around dinnertime in a full African king’s robe. That was not embarrassing at all. 

 

I think you need to bring that back Kyle. Why not? We need to continue the legacy of your grandfather in my opinion. So I hope you still have that. I am not sure who that ended up with. Can I offer one suggestion? I know you have small children, but you need to make sure you have that robe, so when it comes time for your children to bring home a significant other or potential date, you need to show up in the living room in that robe. 

 

Since we are talking about embarrassing our kids, dad I want to give you this opportunity to share. We usually start off with a funny story or question of the day, so I want you to share something and expose me a little bit. 

 

I appreciate the opportunity, believe me. I have a couple and I intend to unload both barrels today because I don’t know that after this that I will be invited back. So I have to make the most of this situation. When Kyle was early on learning golf, I remember there was one hole, I think it was a par 4. He got a seven on and my quote was “Kyle, you know the best thing about that seven? It broke your string of eights.” Hysterical and still true today. And then he got better, but he never could beat me. So he improved his physical game, but the mental game, he just could not get over. You know being able to beat his dad. So there was this one time not too long ago, maybe a couple years ago, where he had like a two stroke lead on me going into the 18th hole. Unfortunately for him the 18th hole was a par 3. It was all water between the tee and the green. He proceeded to dump at least two balls into the water. I walked off the green the victor and I am not sure that I even made par on that hole, but I didn’t have to. 

 

I like this. I think that on any episode we have Randy there needs to be several other stories. But I have to confess something to you guys. I will tell you that I love the game of golf. I love the beautiful greens. I love riding in the cart. I love drinking Dr.Pepper out there, but when it comes to hitting the ball. I have to confess that I don’t think I could do any better. I am exactly with you. I have a lot more fun thinking about golf than actually playing it. 

 

Well it is time for the Verse of the Day. It comes from Luke 16:12 “If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” I think that is a great verse of the day as we talk about church budgeting and how to create a successful church budget. As we talk about being good stewards of what God has entrusted to his church. This is really important. Your church budget in the life of the church can really help fuel the ministry. Add ample horsepower to see ministry advance or it can be a choke collar that hinders future growth in ministry. So today Randy, it is really good to have you on the Thriving in Ministry podcast. I know you have some experience doing this with some significantly large ministries and so what counsel do you have for us regarding church budgets? 

 

So the subject of church budgets can be very polarizing. For some people it can be a roll your eyes topic. For others, they really dig into it. I really dig into it. I come by it quite naturally. I majored in Mathematics and worked in finance for a Fortune 500 company before I was ever the Executive Pastor responsible for creating a church budget. So for me, it is fun. I understand for those who it is not. I would start this with a story that kind of helps frame the discussion. Next summer, my wife and I hope to make a trip to experience several National Parks, like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mt.Rushmore, maybe the Badlands of South Dakota. There is lots of ways that we can make this trip happen. We can fly. We can drive or heaven forbid, rent a RV. 

 

Dace, does the RV hit too close to home right now? All I am saying is that what you described hits very close to home right now. I am staying in a RV at the moment in a camp. We plan to head to the mountains and visit some of the places you mentioned, but I digress. 

 

Regardless of the way you are going to make this happen, there are a few principles that are required to make it a successful trip. Principles that if we ignore them, are going to make the trip memorable, but maybe not in the way we prefer that it be memorable. For example, we have to pack for the trip. We have to plan our route. Are we going to from the north or from the south? Are we going to do it circular or fly into one spot and travel like spokes on a wheel? How flexible do we want to be? Are we going to take advantage of those who have experience? Like friends that have done it before or maybe locals with knowledge. So those are some of the principles for that trip. Any preachers that are listening could probably tease out this analogy for another 15 or 20 minutes. But lets get to the subject of church budgeting. Here are some principles that in my experience as an Executive Pastor, are core to producing a successful church budget. 

 

#1 Allow adequate time. We know that haste makes waste, but I would suggest that it probably needs to be at least three to four months of time from thought to implementation on a church budget. If you try to squeeze your church’s budgeting process into a matter of weeks, you will leave things out. You will give the wrong priority to things. You will not have a budget that is what you want it to be. I have heard it said that “Our people’s giving is the sum of their worship to our holy God.” So we want to do this very carefully. Our people’s giving is the sum of their worship to our holy God. So we want to very good stewards of this. So the number one principle is to allow adequate time for your church budget. 

 

#2 Gather input from those who are closest to the action. This may be a difference of philosophy for me as opposed to somebody else. I want to gather input from those who are closest to the action. Typically, you have a pastoral staff that is responsible for spending money and you have an Executive Board, Elders, Trustees, or Executive Leadership Team that is responsible for approving the church budget. When I was on the Executive Leadership Team, I wanted input from the people who were closest to the action. I don’t just want to be dictating to them what I think they should do. I want them to dream. I want them to own it. If I ask them for input, then they will own some of the process and what ends up in the budget. So I always want people who are closest to the action to have input. Now that does not mean, that everything they want in the budget ends up in the church budget. But it does mean that they have contributed to the budget from the ground up. 

 

As you are talking about gathering input, from some of my experience in the corporate world, specifically in industrial engineering. That is one of the things you have to do to make a good process be successful. So as we are talking about creating a successful church budget, for those pastors and church leaders listening. Getting close to the action is really key. That doesn’t mean you have to get super granular. But it may mean that you go the janitor and ask “How do you see our costs going up or down in the next year?” I think that is really important and sometimes we get lost in this whole process. I do want to go ahead real quick and just say for people listening today, that there is a YouTube video out created by Talanton Church Services called Creating a Successful Church Budget. You can also share this podcast with other church leaders or your board. Randy, you recently put this together and so that may be something you want to share with those around you. So since I have seen this before, I think your third point is to learn from others. 

 

#3 Learn from others. I think churches tend to have a tendency to be very parochial. In other words, we kind of look at things that if it was not invented within these four walls, it doesn’t really count. It doesn’t really exist. We are traditionally very poor learners from others. We think that our situation is so unique that we can’t possibly gain anything from somebody else. If we are going to spend time talking about it, we are really just exchanging information but with no real application to it. I would suggest that you have people in your church, business leaders, pastoral staff, and others that you can gain wisdom from. You should involve them in your church’s budgeting process. I will be so bold as to say that if everybody that is involved in creating your church’s budget is within the four walls of your church, you probably not have explored everything. There are business leaders who have great insight and great input that could certainly help you in your budgeting process. So depending on how your process works, I have talked before about the pastoral team providing input and the executive team that makes the final decision. In between you may have some business leaders perhaps or deacons or elders that you want to seek their counsel and ask what perspective they have or any questions they might have during this process. That will help sharpen your church budget. 

 

Randy, its funny you mention that because it reminds me of a statement I have heard about ministry. Some of the best ideas are in the pews. As leaders, sometimes we make the mistake of being insulated and thinking that all the ideas have to come from the Executive Leadership Team or the Senior Pastor. In particular for a smaller church. Most of our audience is going to pastor smaller churches, they are are the ones who have to come up with this. Ultimately you are the one who is executing and stewarding, but that is exactly right. One thing that I love about your son, and you have very similar experience, you both have a passion for the church yet you have, for lack of a better term, real business skills. With both of you having worked for very large companies, it is really cool to see how God is using that. So, I love that. I want to move on and ask you about perspective. Principle #4 is about having perspective, so let’s talk about what that means in the life of the local church. 

 

#4 Have Perspective. I think in this current environment that having perspective is particularly important. There comes a time in the budget process when it is time to say “Yes, this is what we are proposing.” Whether it comes to a vote of the congregation or the Executive Leadership Team, there comes a time where you say this is it. Then there is always this tension between what is the right percentage. Should I be proposing, for example in a Covid era, should I be proposing a 2 or 3 or 5% increase? What I would suggest, and I am not going to suggest a particular percentage, but what I would suggest to you is that sometimes we lose sight of the fact that every church budget is a faith budget. Every church budget is a faith budget. The church does not exist and the budget does not exist without the faithful giving of people. So, at some point in every church budget process there is a time to put up or shut up, if you will. We are going to put our foot in the ground, drive a stake in the ground, and this is a demonstration of our faith. So again, whatever that looks like, there is no givens. It is all faith and it is all because people are faithful and God is faithful to bless our stewardship. 

 

I think that is really important, as you talk about allowing adequate time, gathering input from others, learning from others, and then the fourth point about having perspective. What I am thinking about, especially in a Covid era, is that perspective can change. The church budgeting process is sometimes an opportunity for pastors and church leaders to say, “This is our new perspective. This is our new mission!” So I think at this step is sometimes where those higher level conversations are going to go. Maybe now is the time to invest in our multimedia or communications or a church online platform. So I think that would fit under this have perspective category. Is that right? 

 

Yeah, I think so. There are some best practices, and even though every budget is its own entity. There are some best practices. There are some recommendations or guidelines that exist. One of the best books that is out there is a book that is called “Money Matters in the Church”. Actually that is a play on words, because money matters in the church but money matters in the church also. By Aubrey Malphurs and Steve Stroope. This is an excellent resource! It talks about how to have a capital campaign, but it also talks about how to create a budget. What are some of the best practices and guidelines that they have seen in working with a bunch of different churches. So, that is a great resource and kind of dovetails into what you are talking about. 

 

Everything that Malphurs has written, I have read some of his other books on pastoral ministry, and a great resource. I am not familiar with that one, but I will have to look into that one. I want to get into our next principle, which is make the tough calls. I am particularly interested in this one, because I know in my experience and many pastors experience is that there are many things that can be funded in the life of the church that particular individuals really like. The effectiveness of those things may be waning a bit, but I know that pastors have to make tough calls. What can you say about that in relations to creating a successful church budget? 

 

#5 Somebody is going to have to make tough calls. Every budget is going to have tough calls and there is no way to avoid that. The principle here is that somebody is going to have to make those tough calls. You an Executive Leadership Team or someone else, I would suggest the counsel of godly people is important here. I would not want to be the one person at the end that says that this is in or this is out. One thing that applies to this whole process is that I want those who are closest to the action to make their recommendations or what they want to see in the budget. But at the same time, I recognize that not everything they put in their ideal budget will not be in the final budget. I don’t want to hamstring them and say give me your budget and this is the amount you have to spend. I want them to put everything on the table and let the Executive Leadership Team or the team with more perspective, make the decision on what stays in and what stays out. That can be things like online platforms, and it may be things that are very good, but they are just not the best. My point with this is someone is going to have to make some tough calls. The more counsel you have the better, but you have to for lack of a better term, suck it up and do it in that environment. 

 

Well you are thrown out all the colloquiums with put up or shut up and suck it up. But hey, I think one of things as you are talking about making tough calls, specifically in creating a successful church budget process. One of the things I would say is that there is benefit in the counsel of many. Which is what you are saying. To talk to the pastors and church leaders listening, although there is a lot of negatives I could say about church committees and different boards. But the benefit here is that when the tough calls comes, and it can be your decision and your direction, but the blame can be spread out. So there is not, “You are cutting this!” Takes maybe the personal edge off it when it comes to cutting budget. Frankly, the pastor can be that one person, but having plurality there really helps to dilute the personal feeling of it. 

 

That is a good word there, Kyle. I was thinking about that. For some of our listeners, some churches are led in different manners. Some of them have a plurality of leadership or elders. Others have a single elder or lead elder situation. Senior Pastor who has what people would perceive to be the power. But what I am hearing is that when it comes to the church budget, a plurality of godly people who have the best interest of the kingdom and the church in mind, is definitely where you need to focus on. 

 

Dace, I know you are talking about the plurality of leaders and on one hand I just said it is a good thing. Here is the negative. So if plurality of leadership is good because it helps dilute the blame. On the other hand what I would say is the negative is that sometimes it is harder to make the tough call. We see this in a lot of church budgets. As we work with a lot of churches through Talanton Church Services, sometimes the more hands you have in the pot, it becomes much more difficult. Everybody has their pet project and we end up running the church like we do the government. So everyone gets funded at a reduced level. 

 

I would say that the emphasis there is for the pastor or the lead elder to remind everybody of the agenda. This is not a time for personal agendas. This is the time for the church’s agenda. I will go back to that quote I gave before which is, this is money people have given in worship to their holy God. So let’s steward it correctly. It sounds easy in an environment like this and it gets difficult when you are face to face with people, but the responsibility of the head person in this is to bring us all back to that purpose. 

 

You know Randy, as you are saying this it seems to me as I think about my own context here. A great measure of humility is needed in this. In the sense that church budgets aren’t something that just needs to be done, but I almost want to say it is a sacred task. These funds have been given, once again as you so beautifully said, is an act of worship. There is a spiritual component here. It is bigger than we are making sure that the lights stay on or that we have appropriate benefits packages or whatever the case may be. This is a form of worship and it is significant. It is inspiring. It is encouraging, but it should also call us to move with a little bit of trepidation. Because the Bible certainly has a lot to say about stewardship. 

 

#6 Be open to course correction. The final point is the churches need to be open to course correction in mid-course. I have already said that you should allow three to four months to make a budget. Obviously by the time a church budget been implemented six months later, your church is now nine months or more from the original idea. You may discover that there is a pandemic and things need to change. So, you cannot hold your budget so tightly that it is not flexible to go with where God is leading and the world is leading, or circumstances. We all know that but sometimes we get so wrapped around the axel, trying to manage to a specific budget number, that we forget the need to be flexible. I would just encourage everybody, even though it is in black and white and numbers have a tendency to be authoritative. This is much more art than it is science. So let’s lean into that somewhat. 

 

Those are the main point of creating a successful church budget, but let me talk about a couple of other things. Those are the main points, but I want to talk about a couple of other things before we wrap out. I recommend from my experience, a church should assign priorities to every single line item from the earliest time it is submitted. So the first priority for example would be, is this is a necessity for ministry. In other words, if we do not do this thing, we really do not have a ministry or are not even sure why we are operating a ministry. If we do not have this, it is essential to the functioning of this ministry. Priority two says that this line item will take my ministry to a new level. It may be a new initiative or something you haven’t done before. It may be an expansion, but this will take our ministry to a new level. It is not essential for operations, but it would take it to a new level. The third priority is this is a dream for my ministry if giving supports it. This is something I would like to see us do. I would love to see us do. This is something we should do. Now here is the benefit of doing this priority system. If you do it during the budget process, you then have some adjustments that can be made later on without the emotion of the moment. For example, if giving does not support the budget you proposed and approved, and you have to cut something out of that. You can go to the priority threes right off the bat and say “We are going to pause on all the priority threes!” Without priorities, if you wait until budgets and income are tight. You will suddenly have to cut stuff and there will be a lot of emotion involved in what you are trying to cut. I think that hampers the ability to have a successful church budget. I will interject this. If giving does not support the budget you have approved and you tell everyone you are going to cut budgets. One thing I strongly encourage pastors to not do is to go to every department and say “Hey, you need to cut 10% out of your budget!” Because every person’s department is different. There are some people that treat the church budget as if the money was coming out of their own pocket. Which is a good thing, but they don’t have any wiggle room at all in it. I have had experiences with people that if you gave them enough time to think about it, they would come up with 10 different ways to go to the moon. Cutting 10% out of their church budget doesn’t even phase them. So, all 10% are not equal. Not all ministries are not equal. I don’t want to say a blanket 10%. I want to look at it and say these are the budgets I think can withstand a cut. Because the first person that I mentioned probably would’ve taken money out of their own paycheck to fund their budget. If I make them take 10% out. So I would encourage pastors and church leaders to not do across the board cuts in terms of ministries.

 

Let me ask you this. Can you give us a real life example of what that looks like in a church budget. If we are talking about youth ministry, the priority one may be the salary of the Youth Pastor. Is that right? That is what we would say is a priority for ministry. Yes, priority one would be things like salaries and maybe some of the functions they do on a youth night. Things that they are committed to do. If they don’t do it, they won’t have any youth there. Then priority two would be a different mission trip for the youth that we haven’t done before. So we want to go to Montana and build a house. Is that true? Correct, or maybe a camp or something like that. Then priority three would be the renovation of the youth area. Is that true? Exactly, spot on. 

 

So that can help give some perspective. Now whether the need for a Youth Pastor is really a priority one for you and your church could be debated. I would just saw that gives you a real life example of prioritizing your church budget. I am not sure how that works for you, but I thought I would throw that out there. 

 

Well I can say that the last few youth ministers that I have had were necessities. But I am aware of a few situations where the youth pastor was more of a liability than a necessity. But there was a long time ago, 20 years ago, where I might have fallen into that liability category. I don’t know. 

 

Another principle that I would highly recommend is to build into your church budget, if at all possible, some flexible money. Money that is not designated, at the beginning of the budget, to anything. You get to decide what that context is for you. Whether it is $1,000 or $5,000 or whether it is $50,000. This money is priority three money when it is in the budget, but it is dedicated to what I will call “how the Holy Spirit moves”. So again, I have talked about how time lags between from when the budget is conceived and when it is actually implemented. You may be in the third or fourth quarter and God is leading your church to do. But if you do not have any money in the budget, you are kind of strung until the new budget cycle. Wouldn’t it be nice to have $1,000 or $5,000, sitting there as a priority in your budget? When God presents an opportunity for you, that you can embrace and you already have the money built into the budget. You go to your elders or deacons and say that this what I want to use it for. Wouldn’t it be great to do that? So I think that is something that is highly recommended and gives you a great sense of empowerment, if you will, for your church budget. So that is something I think is important. 

 

Since we are picking on Youth Pastors here, Dace. I will just take this opportunity to say that if you are going to give your Youth Pastor discretionary or flex dollars, I would not put them in Q1. Because they may evaporate before an opportunity presents itself. 

 

That last point is so important and so good. In my context I will tell you, funds like that enabled us to do some things during Covid that really, once again, needed to be done. We had the ability to do it just because we had some of those dollars set aside. In particular, I am thinking about. We did a socially-distanced movie night down at our park and we need some additional equipment. We need several thousand dollars worth of equipment to have a good projector. So we could have a quality situation down there. We were able to do that because we had some of those flex dollars. So those flex dollars, wow! When things kind of shift and the paradigm shifts like it has in the past year, I can only amen that you will be very thankful that you have funds like that available to respond. 

 

If you don’t have funds in your church budget to respond, then you are robbing Peter to pay Paul. You are borrowing funds from other ministries and that gets kind of sticky as well. So best to already have it in your church budget. To Kyle’s point, I should amplify the decision on how to spend these flex dollars is made at the highest level of your organization. Whatever that is, whether it is an Executive Leadership Team or the Senior Pastor. That decision is not delegated down to the pastoral team. 

 

The last thing I wanted to talk about it, and this is actually in the money matters book, I am going to go over this real briefly. These are best practices and guidelines, I call them guardrails for your church budget. Some of you may already know this, but best practice is that personnel cost. Personnel cost includes everything from salary to benefits to everything regarding personnel, should be no more than 50% of your church budget. You may be able to swing a few points either way, but by in large, right around 50% should be your target. I will come back and discuss that here in a second. Your facilities cost, everything from your utilities, mortgage, to cleaning and landscaping, should be in the low 20 percentile. I will say 20% to 22% of your church budget. Then in the money matters book, they talk about programming. That is really everything else, from curriculum to camps, programming should be around 20% to 22%. Then missions, whether it is local or international missions, missions should be around 10% of your church budget. In my experience that is the hardest one to hit, because we put priorities in all these other things. So if you do your budget and run your numbers. What I always used to do is gather everyones’ input and see where we were. I knew where to make adjustments. If you find that your budget is not within these parameters, that is just a warning sign. Over the next two years or three budget cycles, we need to start working this down or for example, working missions up. Maybe the personnel down and the programming up. Again, these are best practices, not hard and fast rules. But if your personnel and facilities end up being 90% of your church budget, you have to ask, “What are we in this for?” That means that less than 10% of your church budget to actually be in true ministry. One caveat I would suggest on this. There is a tendency in some circles to parse out the personnel cost to the different ministries. In other words, you may have a youth employee that is also a community groups person. You might allocate 50% of their salary to youth and 50% of their salary to ministry. You end up not having a total personnel cost that you can look at in the church budget. I would discourage churches from doing this because it basically clouds the picture and prevents you from seeing what your true costs are. So you may chose to broadcast that to your church in the manner I suggested, but internally you need to know what your true personnel costs are in the budget. 

 

I will simplify that in a church’s facility and personnel cannot equal more than 70% of your church’s total giving. You may have a mortgage. If you don’t, your facility costs are going to be less than a church down the street. I can say this from experience. In the business world you have a fixed cost and variable costs. Your facility costs are fairly fixed, especially when it is rent an utilities. This means that it going to be the same regardless of the month. Then in the church world, we view personnel as a fixed cost as well. We don’t want to fire, or layoff, personnel. So what happens is that the only true variable cost ends up being the ministry, the programming, or missions. So if giving is down 10 or 15% for a quarter, then inevitably what gets cut is the mission and ministry of the church. So as we started with the verse of the day, the reason it is important to steward on the front end. In particular as we are talking creating a successful church budget, what I would ask or what I would challenge the pastors and church leaders listening. If you are going to cut, let’s figure out a way to cut on the facilities and personnel on the front end, because I believe the ministry should be on the forefront. What I get to do is to create margin for ministry. That is what it is about! It is ultimately about seeing lives changed. 

 

Well, Randy and Kyle, thank you so much. This has been really encouraging on a subject that it is apparent you guys have a passion for this particular aspect of ministry and advancing the kingdom. Just to wrap this up, I just want to remind our listeners. For me, even though I don’t have a background in accounting and math and the budgeting process has not been my favorite aspect of ministry. This has been encouraging thinking about the significance of this task for the kingdom and for ministry. That really encourages me and that really excites me! To think about what we are really dealing with here, we are dealing with the monetary resources and stewarding them fro the kingdom. To see kingdom advancement, to see lives changed, and to see Jesus’ Church advance. So that has been really great and something that we ought not enter into lightly. Randy, phenomenal counsel. This has been fantastic! 

 

I will also mention for those who are a little behind in some of these areas or a little off point, it is easy to be off point in some of these areas without help. Talanton Church Services is certnaly a resource. You also have resources available through Talanton, a video and also some excellent resources that I have been looking at here, to help shepherd pastors and church leaders through creating a successful church budget. A very important task! Randy it has been a pleasure and thank you so much for being here. This has been great! 

 

Well if you will have me on again, I still have some stories to tell. I guarantee we will do that! Maybe we will have to start a separate podcast dad, I think that would’ve been really great. But in all seriousness, thank you for the legacy you have left on my life. As a father as a pastor, I just appreciate you. I appreciate you discipling me. What you are doing now by encouraging other church leaders, it is important. I think it is leaving a legacy that hopefully 40 years from now, other people will be pointing to in the same way. Maybe your grandkids will be talking about you! 

 

As always, we hope that you have enjoyed this episode of the Thriving in Ministry Podcast as we talked about creating a successful church budget. I want you to know that if you are listening to us today that we care about you! The reason Daily Pastor exists the reason Talanton Church Services exists is to encourage pastors and equip them with resources! So if you have questions, you can email me at kyle@talantonservices.com. We would love to connect with you and help in any way that we can. That is right and if you have enjoyed this episode, be sure to share it within your circles of influence and on social media. If you have an idea for a future podcast topic, we would love for you to reach out to us at thedailypastor@gmail.com. God bless and have a great day!

 

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Written for Talanton Church Services. Church Consulting Tulsa | Creating a Successful Church Budget

Talanton Church Services

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