I was really excited when Long Hollow decided to take a new approach to their 2011 budget presentation. When it comes to presenting and approving the church budget, most leaders would rather pull their toenails out than have to endure another business meeting where random members get to ask uninformed questions about obscure line items in a budget they’ve seen for only a few minutes.
(Note: I’m not opposed to general church input, but I also recognize that few people sitting in the pew have ever managed a complex operational budget. There should be a general sense of respect for the integrity of a small group who has been diligently working for months to prepare what the larger body now holds in their hands. Questions are good if they are informed. Just because you have a copy of the budget doesn’t mean you are informed.)
Here are a few things Long Hollow did that I wish more churches would do:
- Be strategic about their budget planning. Too little time is spent refining the tool that provides the roadmap to where the leadership feels God is leading. We tell people that where they spend their money indicates what’s important to them. The same is true for churches.
- Clearly define your plan for Kingdom investment. The person in the pew is a shareholder. Teat them with respect. Show them where their money is going.
- Establish a level of accountability between the pulpit and the pew. In the “new normal” of church giving, the donor demands more information and a greater sense of expectation and accountability with the organizations he or she chooses to support. The net result is trust.
- Provide a call to action. Challenge people to do something. Being a Christ-follower is not solely an intellectual pursuit. Rather, it is about measurable behavior that is shaped by the Gospel. Don’t underestimate the unifying power of collective energy moving in a singular direction.
As you can tell, Long Hollow spent time and money on this piece. It is indicative of how important it is to them to achieve their 2011 ministry objectives.
What does your budget presentation say about your church?