Budgets Don’t Crunch…They Crush!

I once heard it said that January is the worst time of the year for family economies.  Partly because people are getting credit card bills from their Christmas vacations and expenses and wondering who broke into their account and robbed them.  Also, many companies are reviewing their profits, or lack thereof, from the previous year and making layoff decisions.  What a way to start of the New Year.

Many leadership teams within local congregations are going through the same process; they’re reviewing budgets, making salary, ministry, and other budgetary determinations for the upcoming year.  Some had the luxury of making those choices prior to the Christmas holidays if their fiscal year ended in October or November.  Others follow the calendar year and just finished sending out some pink slips right in time for the holidays.  The fiscal year within our local congregation ends on March 31st.  Thus we are just getting ready to sit down and review budgets, salaries, and the whole nine.

I go into this with a totally different perspective; one I received after talking to my aunt over the Christmas holidays.  She is a pastor of Christian Education at a church in Florida.  She told me that one year her pastor sent the entire finance team back to the drawing board because they were making cuts from the ministry budget.  His viewpoint was that if ministries were cut then how were they to actually BE the church?  WOW!!  Talk about an eye opener.

I had to give a lot of prayer and consideration to how our team would proceed.  What is most impactful in allowing us to be the church?  Which line item should be preserved more? Could we BE the church without a building and utility bills?  What about salaries?  Who could we BE the church with and who without? Which staff member would and could continue and on how much less?  If we stopped doing ministry, but had a building with lights and heat on and paid staff, could we BE the church?  I think you see where I’m going with this.

I’ll tell you what we did…but I want to hear from you first.  Check out the poll or just leave your comments.


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