by Mark Entzminger/ September 24, 2018
You might be thinking, “I have no money for children’s ministry, so why would I ever need a budget?” Or perhaps you do have a budget, but it’s so small you end up putting in your own funds to get what’s really needed.
I get it. Funding for children’s ministry is a struggle for most leaders in churches today. But there is something powerful about having a budget for your children’s ministry.
Here are some reasons a budget just might be what you’ve been missing.
Whether you have $10 or $10,000 to invest in ministry, doing the work to create a plan of what you want to accomplish is key. Creating a budget that shows just the essentials can help you in getting the funding you are looking for.
Imagine you are a pastor in a board meeting talking about the upcoming year. You know that if a few key families have a life change that impacts their giving, your budget could be in serious jeopardy. So you need to be visionary but conservative.
As you are working through the line items and requests, when you get to children’s ministry, you may discover:
Simply having a plan can make the difference in the leaders of the church being willing to fund the vision. Even if they don’t put it into the annual budget, the members of the board will see the work you’ve done and that may make an impact in different ways than you can imagine.
So now you are into your year and are looking at the plan you’ve created. You now have a good handle on what you need and when you need it. This can empower the money because the plan can be put into the hands of other leaders who can begin working on your behalf to make the money stretch as far as possible.
Imagine you want to do a quarterly party with the kids as an incentive for bringing their Bibles, memorizing verses, and inviting friends. But this party will need food and snacks. If you know your budget for food at this event, you can empower a thrifty shopper or a deal bulldog to begin working on your behalf months ahead of time. This increases the chances you’ll be able to get more done with less, making the dollars seem as though they are more like the fishes and loaves.
In your home-based budget you might be saving for a vacation or Christmas, or a replacement air conditioner. By putting this line item into your budget, you are showing yourself what you are working toward. Every time you want to spend money on something disposable, you are more likely to be reminded: That’s not the goal of my budget.
When creating your budget, consider putting some goals in place that will cause you and others in leadership to see the kinds of things you are hoping to accomplish as the money arrives.
This is not a foreign concept for churches. It’s not uncommon for building funds to be treated like a massive goal the entire church is working toward. They may even put up drawings of the new church structure or a thermometer showing the progress in savings.
By not creating a budget, you are missing a key opportunity to show a goal you have for children’s ministry. Perhaps it’s a new bus, improved seating for the children, a new stage design, or equipment and supplies to hold a summer outreach.
Though this might seem like the least likely reason you’d want a budget, it is more valuable than you can imagine.
If you are committed to using the resources you have for life transformation, then you’ll want to report to those who provided the funds on what you did. This is not a time to spin the story to manufacture a “win” and attempt to cover up what was missed. Instead, it’s a chance to truly show what you’ve learned and how God showed up in an amazing way.
By stewarding the resources given, and looking back, you can tell the story of what every dollar did. It helps the church see you are responsible with what God has given you and paves the way for the next dream you would like to see fulfilled.
Although it may be painful when there are budgetary “misses,” we must be held accountable for the pain of facing up to these learning experiences, and then doing better the next time. This will help ensure that the dreams God has given you will come to fruition.