Last week I saw that Josh Griffin (of Saddleback fame) was requesting some guest posts while he was away on vacation. I decided to submit my most successful post from a while back after I reworked it.  Without further delay here is the 2009 update of my most successful post…


While I can’t pretend to be an expert in this area, I have been through this a couple of times and thought I would share what I do know.  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?

For many it is the five purposes, excellence, technology, etc.  If you are saying you value it put your money where your mouth is and prove it.

EXAMPLE: Our values are worship, grow, serve, and outreach.  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 that? I will tell you that I have had a budget go up by 50% and be reduced by 25%.

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 that came to staff 9 months in and told them to plant on 10% of their budget being cut.  I have also known churches 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 all 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 spent 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 have to be built toward.

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.


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