Paul Begala, a former Clinton presidential advisor, once said, “The budget is a profoundly moral document.” He then quoted the Bible, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be.”
Budgets, after all, reflect our priorities. The decisions we make about how and how much we spend our money reveal our values and demonstrate to others our main concerns.
In a church, however, line-item budgets tell the wrong story about our mission and vision. In a properly formatted budget, with the largest expenditure categories at the top, the mission that is communicated might be stated in this way:
First Church is a congregation with a paid pastor and staff, which maintains its buildings and grounds as best we can, usually. If money remains after that, we buy Sunday School materials, have fellowship dinners, and sometimes send money to a local agency, if the Sunday offering is good enough.
Paying staff and energy bills is absolutely necessary to accomplish the mission of a congregation. However, there is a different way to present the budget that will help members understand the mission and be inspired by it. A Missional (or narrative) Budget better communicates your priorities as a congregation.
Simply put, a Missional Budget tells a member how much it costs annually to worship God, to seek out new disciples, to nurture existing disciples, and to build a better world through benevolence and service.
For examples of a Missional Budget and a free and easy guide to creating your own, contact me using this form.