By David E. Sprang
Congregations who follow a fiscal year that corresponds with the yearly calendar are probably right in the middle of getting budget figures together for a fall meeting or to go along with a fall stewardship drive. In order to help with that, I’d like to suggest using a Missional budget to tell a story about the congregation’s mission. While that might sound a little strange, a budget that tells a story ultimately helps the budget grow.
While line item budgets are popular, they are more for the treasurer and accountants since they are the ones who still have to make the ledger sheets balance. A Missional budget helps the congregation see the mission/vision of the church, which will help the budget grow. People rarely want to just give to a budget. Instead, they want to give to mission, to people, and to make a difference. Mission budgets reflect that, and present a challenge to grow the congregation’s ministries, and to be more involved with the church’s mission.
In order to start the story, take a look at your congregation’s mission, all of its ministries and how much of the budget goes towards them. It is especially important to divide up the pastor’s salary and compensation, as well as the cost for the building, and staff and supplies.
For example, if a pastor’s total package is $80,000, the building’s cost for the year is $50,000, and office staff and supplies is $20,000, then a Missional budget might look like this:
Worship – 27.5% – $41,250
Pastor – $22,000
Building – $13,750
Staff & Supplies – $5,500
Education – 22.5% – $33,750
Pastor – $18,000
Building – $11,250
Staff & Supplies – $4,500
Outreach – 35% – $52,500
Pastor – $28,000
Building – $17,500
Staff & Supplies – $7,000
Fellowship -15% – $22,500
Pastor – $12,000
Building – $7,500
Staff & Supplies – $3,000
So what story does this budget tell?
First, this Missional budget lays out the basics:
- It spells out how the dollars and staff time are spent
- It shows that the congregation has thought about what is important and divided resources accordingly
Second, it shows:
- That Outreach is the congregation’s highest priority
- That the congregation is willing to spend more time and dollars on others than on themselves
While all of these are important, a key element of a Missional budget is how it is used to engage with the congregation’s mission and how it can help them grow. In this example, Outreach was shown to be the congregation’s highest priority, and one way the congregation could highlight that would be to give Outreach a more missional name like “Building the Kingdom.” In a similar vein, Education, their third highest priority, could be highlighted by naming it “Faith Formation for All Ages.” By using names that engage with the missional nature of the ministries, there is a stronger focus on the congregation’s mission and how those parts of the budget relate to it. Since people are more inclined to give to support the congregation’s mission, having engaging names helps those ministries grow. The way in which Missional budgets are divided into four different ministries, allows for quarterly testimonials in worship where people who are involved in each of the congregation’s ministries share their stories and encourage others to participate.
Another important aspect of the Missional budget is how it is presented. When presenting a Missional budget, there should be a focus on how the different parts of the budget relate to the congregation’s ministries. For example, the presentation should begin with the church’s mission statement and contain pictures of each of the four congregational priorities. By presenting the budget in a way that allows the congregation to understand how it relates to the different ministries, people will be more likely to engage with it and support it.
For more advice on Missional Budgets – check out Not Your Parent’s Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship