While I can’t pretend to be an expert in this area, I have done a couple of them now and thought I would share what I do know.  Just this week I did my first draft for the 08-09 fiscal year.


There are a few major things you have to look at when you are planning a budget. It won’t give you final answers, but these are questions that will at least begin to formulate a direction you are headed.


  1. Have you prayed about this?

I know it is cliché.  I wish I could say I remembered this one up front every time but I am not that cool.  The reality is though that you are spending God’s money to do God’s work so you NEED to stop and pray for the mind of Christ to work in your thoughts and heart.

 2. What is your church/ministry vision

Everything you do including the way you spend money should be easily traced to how you are trying to accomplish that vision.


EXAMPLE: Ours is reaching and growing so if I can’t quickly support that I am probably headed in the wrong direction

3. What are your ministry/church’s values?

If you value certain things (for most it is some form of the five purposes and excellence, technology, etc.  If you are saying you value it put your money where your mouth is (that was too cheesy to use) and prove it.


EXAMPLE: Ours are Outreach, Worship, Connecting, and Service.  Those along with Staffing to create them are my focus.


4. What was your budget last year?

Plain and simple this tells a lot.  Yes a budget can go up based on trends and potential, but if your budget was $2,500 last year it will most likely not be $20,000 next year.


EXAMPLE: Last year my budget was ……come on did you really think I would write thatJ


5. Where is your ministry going?

Where is your ministry going philosophically? Numerically? Short Term? Long Term? Are you adding programs?


EXAMPLE: Last year I was making a major shift in the way we did programming and hopefully creating awareness for outreach that needed to take place and our group was on the verge of a numbers boom.


6. Where is your church going?

Are you in a time of growth, decline, budget cuts, or alternate focus?


EXAMPLE:  I have known churches who came to staff 9 months in and told them to plant on 10% of their budget being cut.  I have also known chuches who have started a second campus or planted a church and shifted funds and focus mid year.


7. What is the financial culture of your church?

How have others past and present made budgets and presented them?


EXAMPLE:  I stole the spreadsheet format others had used in the past so that I would not be foreign in my presentation.


8. What are your must haves?

While we are know that a new Wii would impact eternity because of the lives it would change, if you are honest with yourself your money may be better spend on leader appreciation.


EXAMPLE:  While I have always had the dream for technology and part-time staff, those things didn’t happen in year one and may never happen.


9. What is your relationship with the person/group making the final decision?

Are you the new guy? Are you the seasoned veteran? Are you always asking forgiveness?  Are you the guy who can do no wrong?


EXAMPLE: Perception is reality so if you are the new guy, know that you have earn trust and credibility.  If you have let this group down before you may have to regain their trust.  No matter which guy you are you cannot go wrong with organization and clarity in your thought and presentation.



I hope this helped somebody.  If you have questions or comments comment away and let the conversation begin.



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  2. Thank you for taking the time to write this blog. I am looking for a few more helpful tips. I’m unable to find old copies of budget requests for my church. (I’m the new guy) When i came in 4 months in, i received the budget that the previous YM had requested. I am looking for Budget Necessities… Curriculum, Missions, etc… If you can comment on this stuff, it would be much appreciated.

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  5. Hi Mark,

    I was just signed on for my first official youth minister position oct 1 I’m extremely excited! But, I was told to have a budget preped and ready to go by the end of next week… I’ve never done one before! The church hasnt had a youth minister in five years and have NEVER had a budget for youth. I am a little overwhelmed! So, I automatically went to and searched “how to write a youth budget” &guess where that lead me?

    I want to thank you for such a WONDERFUL outline on how to write a budget. I think you have done a great job and I will be keeping everything you said in mind. I also appreciate the examples 🙂

    Thank you again!

    Grace and peace,
    Katie Koppang

    Davis Memorial United Methodist Church
    N. Richland Hills, TX
    Youth Director

  6. Dear sir/madam,
    I would like to thank you so very much for the great work you are doing, My query is; How can write my budget, what am i supposed to consider in my budget and what am supposed to live out, iam just starting up and i do live in Uganda-Africa. Thank you very much.

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  8. HiMark,
    Thanks. for showing a very good reflection about the budget for youth ministry.
    but the problem is i am just newlly appointed as the youth animator and i am asked to prepare the budget for the whole year. it would be nice if u heip meto specify at least some points.
    thanks a lot
    waiting for your reply.
    with prayers,
    arvind amliyar.

  9. Pingback: Budget youth | Kedewang

  10. I was looking to create a budget for a youth ministry for a church just starting. I imagine this will help some who are just submitting a budget for the next year based on their last year figures.

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