Budget on Faith, Spend on Reason

For many churches, we are coming into the season when it is time to start planning for the upcoming year. That planning includes setting a budget on how to allocate the resources God has provided the church.

There are no churches that should be operating without a budget. Even churches that think they are too small or don’t have enough income should still have a budget. Actually, some of the smallest churches should budget more as money is scarce, and it’ll provide key analysis for requesting assistance should that be necessary.

A trend we have found in most churches is that the budget is handled in a faithless manner. We preach about faith, tell the folks in the pews to live by faith, and have every assurance that God will provide to those who are faithful. Yet, we budget on reality without allowing God to intervene. The budget is looked at from last years numbers, adding in a percentage for inflation or cost of living increases, but nothing more added for God to move in the upcoming year, almost as if God’s provision is an afterthought or unplanned expectation.

Now I can definitely understand being frugal and the need to be practical in our planning. However, what are we saying about God’s faithfulness by not raising or exceeding our expectations?

Let’s try something new for the upcoming budget year. Let’s try budgeting with faith that God will provide for something extraordinary. Let’s budget with the same level of faith we are preaching from the pulpit.

Secondly, when you have your faith budget in place, spend your budget line items on reason. Plan to spend your budget lines at 80%. Spend reasonably the money that needs to be spent, but nothing more. I think you’ll be amazed at how God will provide for your church when you don’t limit God. By spending on reason, (what you have available now) and being frugal in spending, you will be able to better maintain cash flow.

Your congregation will also be more inclined to give to a larger budget. Now getting people to understand and be faithful givers is a whole other topic, but if done correctly, a faithful budget goal will spur your congregation to have faith in giving.

When was the last time you had a faith increase in your annual budget?