In our current era of fewer resources it becomes even more critical for churches and other ministries to have a grid through which they make financial decisions. All budgets reflect a financial philosophy whether spelled out or not. Having your philosophy defined can help you make key financial decisions and keep your ministry on track toward its intended objectives.
In addition, the answer to increased ministry is not always an increase in dollars or people. It is often doing what we do in a different and more effective and efficient way. A set of financial principles or practices can help define a mindset that sees financial resources through a new set of eyes.
Consider these best practices to guide your financial decisions. And consider taking the time to draft a set for your own ministry.
One, we will teach and model generosity believing that this is the heart of God. We will call people to a life of generosity but will not coerce or manipulate people to give.
Two, we will faithfully and wisely steward what God provides to us for the ministry He has entrusted to us.
Three, we will joyfully and thankfully live within the income that God provides. We will live within our means believing that God gives us what we need in order to accomplish the ministry He has called us to.
Four, we know that we cannot be all things to all people. Thus we will carefully define our mission critical and core ministries and fund those before we start ancillary ministries, no matter how attractive, that are not mission critical. In tight times, we will always come back to funding that which is mission critical.
Five, we value excellence but do not believe that excellence must be expensive. Our ministries will be excellent but as cost effective as possible. We will regularly look for ways to accomplish our mission in the most cost effective way as possible.
Six, we will staff with the best people possible, compensate them fairly and subscribe to a lean staffing philosophy. All key ministry staff will build teams of volunteers so that we are not staff heavy and live out the equipping mandate of Ephesians 4:12.
Seven, before we hire new staff we will always look at the systems, processes, staffing and volunteer resources to determine whether there is a way to increase our ministry capacity without increasing our staff.