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Church Budget
Between the Lines
• “But let all things be done properly and in an
orderly manner.” (1 Cor. 14.40 NASB)
Introduction
Ask different people about budgets and you will get different
answers. To staff members, budgets get in the way of
activities. To the budget-review committees, budgets hold
staff members accountable. To those compiling and
coordinating the budgets of varying ministries, it consumes
vast amounts of time and may have questionable benefits.
However, budgets are critical to any church's future success.
• Budgets show the allocation of resources
• They are used to authorize action
• Budgets also provide boundaries and benchmarks
• Budgets are tools that help financial leaders
What budgets cannot do
• Budgets do not motivate the majority of people to give.
• Budgets rarely communicate.
A surprisingly small percentage of the American population can read
and understand budgets, especially line-item budgets. Too many
churches distribute copies of the annual budget, believing that they
have communicated important information. Upon closer examination, it
becomes clear that very little communication has occurred.
• Budgets miss the reason why people give.
People do not give to budgets. They give less from the head than from
the heart. People give to other people, to needs, to causes — to things
that make them feel good and happy.
A budget should reflect the mission
• If you want to know the passion of someone, it's real simple, just
look at where they spend their money. If you have spent any time
in ministry you have noticed if not studied the spending habits of
your congregation. The old statement that says, "if you want to
know where my heart is, look at my checkbook" is the clearest
indication of my personal mission.
• The same is true with an organization, especially non- profits and
even more true of churches.
• As your mission statement should clearly define what is important
to your ministry, your budget should be a reflection of your
statement and define how you plan to financially support that
mission.
A budget should reflect the mission (cont.)
• Randy Kinnison of Bethany Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon,
says, "if you don't put money into it, it's not a goal."
• You must understand the actual values of a congregation before you
can effectively influence the budget process. And often the budget is
the best indication of what the leadership values.
• At a glance the budget seems to confirm that a church boasts that it
is a strong mission’s congregation, but a closer look reveals that
most items in the mission section of the budget are not really
“mission support.” It turns out that anything leadership wanted but
thought might be difficult to sell to the church was labeled missions.
(So the mission section of the budget was bulging with children’s and preschool
ministry activities.)
Reading the Budget
Between the Lines
What is more important?
• Balanced Budget or Positive Cash Flow?
– Many people do not understand that although
something is budgeted, that there may not be cash
flow to make the expenditure.
– It’s the same as having checks, but no money in
the bank.
Cash Flow is Important, and a well thought out
budget can make that happen.
Budget Categories and Types
• Income
– Tithe/Offering
– Investment Earnings
– Rental
– Leases
– Program / Seminars
– Etc.
• (What are other sources of income you can get from your
facilities?)
• Expense
– Salaries
– Property/Facilities
– Programs
– Worship
– Missions
– Numerous (etc.)
Expenses unplanned
• Churches are labor intensive. Large churches hire professionals to
lead and train volunteers to serve the increasing needs of an
expanding populace. But if you examine the average church budget,
there is little allocated to the development of Bible study leaders, lay
leaders and lay and professional administrative leaders.
• These are the people who are on the front lines of providing quality
and excellence to attendees who must be assimilated to become
contributors.
• Corporations invest 10 percent of their budgets each year in the
training of leaders and others who interface with customers. This is
a practice that churches should incorporate as well.
Expenses unplanned
• Likewise, churches should allocate 5 percent of their annual budgets
to promotional activities, including broad and specific target direct
mailings, billboard advertising, radio and television infomercials and
program sponsorships.
• Frequency and reach are the two words describing the impact being
purchased, and they begin with a good understanding of attendees
presently being attracted, especially those indicating their
satisfaction by giving more hours and dollars.
Budget Types
Between the Lines
•Characteristics
•Question Asked
•Modus Operandi (MO)
•Expectation
Zero Based Narrative
Line Item Program
Budget Types
Which kind should I use?
Zero Based Budget Defined
The zero-based budget is similar to what's used by the
executive branch of the U.S. government. The government
annually reduces all budgets to zero, making it necessary for
every department to justify all financial needs for the coming
year.
The zero-based budget forces a church to evaluate needs
every year.
Zero based Budget (cont.)
• Most churches use a "zero-based" budgeting process. That is
they start each year at zero and develop a new budget based
on planned ministries of the church for that year.
• There is not carry over of income or expense from the
previous year on any specific line item. this process may be
adjusted somewhat hereby the new budget would be
developed based on
– fixed costs
– other additions or variables
Management
Expenses and
Revenue are
related to work
loads
Efficiency
What is to be
done?
Review of Budget Types
Zero Based
Characteristics
Question Asked
Mode of Operation
Expectation
Zero-based (cont.)
• The time involved in justifying a zero-based budget can
be burdensome. Yet with line-item budgets, programs
and expenditures that should be modified or eliminated
are often carried forward without change. Furthermore,
a proportional reduction of budget funding can affect a
critical ministry program, rendering it virtually useless
as less- important ministry programs move forward.
Line Item Budget Defined
The line-item budget is what the legislative
branch of the U.S. government uses. It
retains line-item expenditures from year to
year, making modifications as needs
increase or decrease
line-item budget eliminates the need for
detailed analysis
Control
Expenditures and Revenue are
related to commodities. A
simple listing of every line-item.
It is not effective in
communicating the overall plan
of the church.
Economy
What is to be
purchased?
Review of Budget Types
Line Item
Characteristics
Question Asked
Mode of Operation
Expectation
Program Budget Defined
• Costs are identified with the specific programs being carried out by
the church.
• Program budgeting operates on the premise that programs operate
to achieve certain purposes, and by clearly establishing these
purposes the church can improve both the use of its resources and
the effectiveness of programs. This approach forces the church to do
planning before preparing the budget.
• Program budgeting has several advantages. It provides a better
understanding of what each program is attempting to do and directs
program leaders to pay attention to program achievement. It also
offers a clearer picture of what church members' contributions are
supporting. On the negative side, program budgeting takes
considerably longer than incremental budgeting. Program budgeting
cannot be done properly without planning.
Program Budget (cont.)
• These are the Steps in Program Budgeting:
1. Define Program Objectives in terms of output
2. Delineate activities needed to carry out objectives
3. Determine the nature and levels of resources needed to support
the activities
4. Determine the budget requirements to provide resources listed in
step 3
5. Prepare a performance budget for each activity
6. Prepare a program budget by grouping performance budgets by
objectives.
Planning
Expenses and Revenue
are related to
community and
Church goals.
Economy
What is to be
achieved?
Review of Budget Types
Program
Characteristics
Question Asked
Mode of Operation
Expectation
A program budget actually operates mini
budgets by dividing expenditures into a certain
categories.
• Operations
• Missions
• Salaries
• Evangelism
• Education
• Worship
• Facilities
• Youth
Narrative Budget Defined
The narrative budget is one way to give people — especially
those in leadership positions — an opportunity to experience
the mission and ministry that are achieved through the various
line items.
It focuses less on the financial numbers and more on what the
income accomplishes.
It is a one- to two-page presentation that explains: (1) what
the church hopes to accomplish and (2) why the funding is
needed to reach and exceed its goals. The following is an
example of a narrative budget.
Narrative Budget Defined (cont.)
• Shows what ministries are to be supported and describes the
church's ministries in terms of activities and results made
possible by contributions of time, talent, and treasure.
• The focus is on the ministries, not the numbers.
• It shows how the finance committee is budgeting resources to
carry out the congregation's mission and helps demonstrate
its accountability to the rest of the membership. All
expenses, including the so-called "fixed" expenses of utilities
and salaries are divided up and seen as parts of "real" areas
of ministry of the church.
• A further virtue is that it reminds the congregation that church
leaders are managers of ministry resources.
Planning
Expenses and revenues
are related to goals and
objectives to benefit
members
Effectiveness
What is to be
achieved?
Review of Budget Types
Narrative
Characteristics
Question Asked
Mode of Operation
Expectation
Preparing the Budget
Between the Lines
Budgeting
Factors
Income
Expense
Structure
Margin
Data
Board
Committee / Pastor / Staff
Departments / lay ministers
Congregation
Budgets can be prepared in two directions: top down or bottom up.
Each direction has important advantages and disadvantages.
Top-Down Approach
With the top-down approach virtually all budget development takes place at the
upper echelons of the church, usually by a committee hand-picked by church
leaders. The congregation may be asked to vote on and approve the budget,
but time for discussion is purposely kept short, answers to questions may be
sketchy, and the motion and second to adopt the budget are quick. The
advantage of sound and efficient budget preparation by the church leadership
is overshadowed by the disadvantage of people not involved in the budget
process feeling bad because their opinions were not solicited.
Structure
Bottom-Up Approach
Unlike the top-down approach, bottom- up budgeting centers on the
participation of many in the development process. Committees, programs and
personnel are asked to prepare their own budgets. The idea in this approach is
to get as many people as possible involved in the process. Written budgets from
many different sources go to the finance and program evaluation committee for
review. The bottom-up approach is not 100 percent bottom-up as there is some
direction and coordination from above.
Congregation
Departments / Lay Ministers
Committee / Pastor / Staff
Church Board
Structure
Has anyone thought about
Objectives of the budget?
• Bad objective: Have more people in Sunday
School next year.
• Good objective: Increase our average Sunday
School attendance by 10 percent over last year.
• Bad objective: Expand Sunday School.
• Good objective: Start three new Sunday School
classes in the next year, one in January and two in
September
Budgeting is strategic planning
and assessment. (Questions must be asked)
• What are the distinctions of our church? Or, to put it another way: If the
church were to cease operation tomorrow, what difference would it
make?
• If the church's budget were cut by 50 per- cent, what are the things you
would keep?
• What did we do right this year?
• What ministry area should we expand, enhance or begin next year?
• What did we do wrong this year?
• What should we discontinue?
• Are there any activities whose time is past and should no longer be
funded?
• Is this activity or event consistent with our goals?
• Do we have sufficient staff to implement our plan?
• Who should be involved in the planning process?
Income and Expenses
Income and Expenses
• Everyone wants to know what they should
spend and where.
• It is hard to quantify certain numbers
because of subjectivity.
– Location Influences
– Size of Congregation Influences
– Age of Congregation Influences
– Education Influences
Telling you a number is impossible
• Budgets are works in progress.
– The data must be examined
• Things you should examine
– Percentage of tithers
– What is the per capita giving in your church
– What are the highest giving months
– What are the lowest giving months
– What is the average income in your city
– What is the growth rate in your city
92.9% - Tithe
1.9 % - Programs and Denom.
Income
Investments - 2.4 %
2.8% from Other
Budget Income
The Average Church Income
Average American Church Budget
AVERAGE
AMOUNT
STAFF COMPENSATION 118,601
FACILITIES 54,194
Debt Retirement 27,491
Utilities 13,900
Maintenance/Cleaning 12,215
Property/Liability Insurance 4,675
Other 19,336
MISSIONS 45,259
International Missions 28,353
Domestic Missions 22,383
CHURCH PROGRAMS 24,675
ADMINISTRATION AND SUPPLIES 17,853
DENOMINATIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS/FEES 11,539
OTHER 25,430
Budget Allocations
Margin
Margin
One of the largest mistakes in budgeting is simply looking back
3 or 4 years and collecting the data that shows each year the
church budget has increased by 4 or 5 or maybe 15% and
average those figures out to determine what percentage of
growth to expect the next year.
• This isn't the mistake, the data is relevant. The way in which
the data is then applied is often where the mistake come in.
• Upon finding the average percentage of growth, we then apply
that same percentage to the overall income and expense
budget.
• No where in this process is there any determination of the
growth allocated to "Margin.“
• Developing Margin into your budget is a wise choice that
essentially determines that you do not plan to spend all of your
income.
Margin
• Many budgets do include a line called
"Contingency;" however that is not the same as
margin. "Contingency" is usually allocated from
previous years excess in budget; which carries
over to the next year.
• It also applies to some budgets as a
"Cushion," which implies we have more income
allocated that we have planned expenses, so we
are just lumping this in to use as we want to. A
contingency fund is a real misleading agent to the
church who wants to plan its spending toward its
goals and objectives for ministry.
Margin
• So what is a ministry to do when they have money left in
the budget at the end of the year. Let me suggest an
idea which blends a zero-based budget aspect to this
scenario. When a church has an excess at year end, do
not carry that over to next years budget, keep it available
by doing one of the following:
– 1.Investing it in a short term money market where you can
maintain some liquidity for cash flow, this could be very
helpful in the summer months when giving declines but
usually expenses climb.
– 2. Invest in a long term strategy for capital improvements,
and strategic planning for future staff. This can also prove
helpful in the purchase of large ticket items in the future.
– 3. Apply the excess to debt retirement.
Rules of Thumb
Good rules of thumb?
It is advisable that a church look at the following percentages as a rule of
thumb in budgeting local receipts and make adjustments to based on
their objectives.
• World missions 10%
• Personnel expenses (salaries and housing allowance) 35%
• Education, outreach, local ministries expenses 20%
• Building (rental, purchase, utilities, insurance, etc) 35%
Rule of Thumb
• Other analyst say:
– Personnel and Debt Service should not exceed 60% of total
budget. (Those are long-term fixed expenses and therefore
only leaves 40% to focus on advancing the growth of the
church.)
When asked "What would you do with an unexpected financial
windfall?" 31 percent of Protestant pastors said they would build,
expand or update their church buildings and facilities. 7 percent said
they would give more to foreign missions and evangelism.
– Debt Service should not exceed 36% of total budget.
– Personnel should range between 35% and 55%
It’s difficult to say what
your budget should be, but…
• The lower your administrative costs, the more
money you could put to other ministries.
• One church report I recently looked at with a 1
million dollar budget showed the amount of
salvations. The number was “1”
• I would never try to quantify the value of a soul, but
a million dollar budget should see more souls
transformed! This is obviously a church very
internalized.
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small-church-budget-sample-PDF-Download.pdf

  • 2. • “But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.” (1 Cor. 14.40 NASB)
  • 3. Introduction Ask different people about budgets and you will get different answers. To staff members, budgets get in the way of activities. To the budget-review committees, budgets hold staff members accountable. To those compiling and coordinating the budgets of varying ministries, it consumes vast amounts of time and may have questionable benefits. However, budgets are critical to any church's future success. • Budgets show the allocation of resources • They are used to authorize action • Budgets also provide boundaries and benchmarks • Budgets are tools that help financial leaders
  • 4. What budgets cannot do • Budgets do not motivate the majority of people to give. • Budgets rarely communicate. A surprisingly small percentage of the American population can read and understand budgets, especially line-item budgets. Too many churches distribute copies of the annual budget, believing that they have communicated important information. Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that very little communication has occurred. • Budgets miss the reason why people give. People do not give to budgets. They give less from the head than from the heart. People give to other people, to needs, to causes — to things that make them feel good and happy.
  • 5. A budget should reflect the mission • If you want to know the passion of someone, it's real simple, just look at where they spend their money. If you have spent any time in ministry you have noticed if not studied the spending habits of your congregation. The old statement that says, "if you want to know where my heart is, look at my checkbook" is the clearest indication of my personal mission. • The same is true with an organization, especially non- profits and even more true of churches. • As your mission statement should clearly define what is important to your ministry, your budget should be a reflection of your statement and define how you plan to financially support that mission.
  • 6. A budget should reflect the mission (cont.) • Randy Kinnison of Bethany Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, says, "if you don't put money into it, it's not a goal." • You must understand the actual values of a congregation before you can effectively influence the budget process. And often the budget is the best indication of what the leadership values. • At a glance the budget seems to confirm that a church boasts that it is a strong mission’s congregation, but a closer look reveals that most items in the mission section of the budget are not really “mission support.” It turns out that anything leadership wanted but thought might be difficult to sell to the church was labeled missions. (So the mission section of the budget was bulging with children’s and preschool ministry activities.)
  • 8. What is more important? • Balanced Budget or Positive Cash Flow? – Many people do not understand that although something is budgeted, that there may not be cash flow to make the expenditure. – It’s the same as having checks, but no money in the bank. Cash Flow is Important, and a well thought out budget can make that happen.
  • 9. Budget Categories and Types • Income – Tithe/Offering – Investment Earnings – Rental – Leases – Program / Seminars – Etc. • (What are other sources of income you can get from your facilities?) • Expense – Salaries – Property/Facilities – Programs – Worship – Missions – Numerous (etc.)
  • 10. Expenses unplanned • Churches are labor intensive. Large churches hire professionals to lead and train volunteers to serve the increasing needs of an expanding populace. But if you examine the average church budget, there is little allocated to the development of Bible study leaders, lay leaders and lay and professional administrative leaders. • These are the people who are on the front lines of providing quality and excellence to attendees who must be assimilated to become contributors. • Corporations invest 10 percent of their budgets each year in the training of leaders and others who interface with customers. This is a practice that churches should incorporate as well.
  • 11. Expenses unplanned • Likewise, churches should allocate 5 percent of their annual budgets to promotional activities, including broad and specific target direct mailings, billboard advertising, radio and television infomercials and program sponsorships. • Frequency and reach are the two words describing the impact being purchased, and they begin with a good understanding of attendees presently being attracted, especially those indicating their satisfaction by giving more hours and dollars.
  • 13. •Characteristics •Question Asked •Modus Operandi (MO) •Expectation Zero Based Narrative Line Item Program Budget Types Which kind should I use?
  • 14. Zero Based Budget Defined The zero-based budget is similar to what's used by the executive branch of the U.S. government. The government annually reduces all budgets to zero, making it necessary for every department to justify all financial needs for the coming year. The zero-based budget forces a church to evaluate needs every year.
  • 15. Zero based Budget (cont.) • Most churches use a "zero-based" budgeting process. That is they start each year at zero and develop a new budget based on planned ministries of the church for that year. • There is not carry over of income or expense from the previous year on any specific line item. this process may be adjusted somewhat hereby the new budget would be developed based on – fixed costs – other additions or variables
  • 16. Management Expenses and Revenue are related to work loads Efficiency What is to be done? Review of Budget Types Zero Based Characteristics Question Asked Mode of Operation Expectation
  • 17. Zero-based (cont.) • The time involved in justifying a zero-based budget can be burdensome. Yet with line-item budgets, programs and expenditures that should be modified or eliminated are often carried forward without change. Furthermore, a proportional reduction of budget funding can affect a critical ministry program, rendering it virtually useless as less- important ministry programs move forward.
  • 18. Line Item Budget Defined The line-item budget is what the legislative branch of the U.S. government uses. It retains line-item expenditures from year to year, making modifications as needs increase or decrease line-item budget eliminates the need for detailed analysis
  • 19. Control Expenditures and Revenue are related to commodities. A simple listing of every line-item. It is not effective in communicating the overall plan of the church. Economy What is to be purchased? Review of Budget Types Line Item Characteristics Question Asked Mode of Operation Expectation
  • 20. Program Budget Defined • Costs are identified with the specific programs being carried out by the church. • Program budgeting operates on the premise that programs operate to achieve certain purposes, and by clearly establishing these purposes the church can improve both the use of its resources and the effectiveness of programs. This approach forces the church to do planning before preparing the budget. • Program budgeting has several advantages. It provides a better understanding of what each program is attempting to do and directs program leaders to pay attention to program achievement. It also offers a clearer picture of what church members' contributions are supporting. On the negative side, program budgeting takes considerably longer than incremental budgeting. Program budgeting cannot be done properly without planning.
  • 21. Program Budget (cont.) • These are the Steps in Program Budgeting: 1. Define Program Objectives in terms of output 2. Delineate activities needed to carry out objectives 3. Determine the nature and levels of resources needed to support the activities 4. Determine the budget requirements to provide resources listed in step 3 5. Prepare a performance budget for each activity 6. Prepare a program budget by grouping performance budgets by objectives.
  • 22. Planning Expenses and Revenue are related to community and Church goals. Economy What is to be achieved? Review of Budget Types Program Characteristics Question Asked Mode of Operation Expectation
  • 23. A program budget actually operates mini budgets by dividing expenditures into a certain categories. • Operations • Missions • Salaries • Evangelism • Education • Worship • Facilities • Youth
  • 24. Narrative Budget Defined The narrative budget is one way to give people — especially those in leadership positions — an opportunity to experience the mission and ministry that are achieved through the various line items. It focuses less on the financial numbers and more on what the income accomplishes. It is a one- to two-page presentation that explains: (1) what the church hopes to accomplish and (2) why the funding is needed to reach and exceed its goals. The following is an example of a narrative budget.
  • 25. Narrative Budget Defined (cont.) • Shows what ministries are to be supported and describes the church's ministries in terms of activities and results made possible by contributions of time, talent, and treasure. • The focus is on the ministries, not the numbers. • It shows how the finance committee is budgeting resources to carry out the congregation's mission and helps demonstrate its accountability to the rest of the membership. All expenses, including the so-called "fixed" expenses of utilities and salaries are divided up and seen as parts of "real" areas of ministry of the church. • A further virtue is that it reminds the congregation that church leaders are managers of ministry resources.
  • 26. Planning Expenses and revenues are related to goals and objectives to benefit members Effectiveness What is to be achieved? Review of Budget Types Narrative Characteristics Question Asked Mode of Operation Expectation
  • 29. Board Committee / Pastor / Staff Departments / lay ministers Congregation Budgets can be prepared in two directions: top down or bottom up. Each direction has important advantages and disadvantages. Top-Down Approach With the top-down approach virtually all budget development takes place at the upper echelons of the church, usually by a committee hand-picked by church leaders. The congregation may be asked to vote on and approve the budget, but time for discussion is purposely kept short, answers to questions may be sketchy, and the motion and second to adopt the budget are quick. The advantage of sound and efficient budget preparation by the church leadership is overshadowed by the disadvantage of people not involved in the budget process feeling bad because their opinions were not solicited. Structure
  • 30. Bottom-Up Approach Unlike the top-down approach, bottom- up budgeting centers on the participation of many in the development process. Committees, programs and personnel are asked to prepare their own budgets. The idea in this approach is to get as many people as possible involved in the process. Written budgets from many different sources go to the finance and program evaluation committee for review. The bottom-up approach is not 100 percent bottom-up as there is some direction and coordination from above. Congregation Departments / Lay Ministers Committee / Pastor / Staff Church Board Structure
  • 31. Has anyone thought about Objectives of the budget? • Bad objective: Have more people in Sunday School next year. • Good objective: Increase our average Sunday School attendance by 10 percent over last year. • Bad objective: Expand Sunday School. • Good objective: Start three new Sunday School classes in the next year, one in January and two in September
  • 32. Budgeting is strategic planning and assessment. (Questions must be asked) • What are the distinctions of our church? Or, to put it another way: If the church were to cease operation tomorrow, what difference would it make? • If the church's budget were cut by 50 per- cent, what are the things you would keep? • What did we do right this year? • What ministry area should we expand, enhance or begin next year? • What did we do wrong this year? • What should we discontinue? • Are there any activities whose time is past and should no longer be funded? • Is this activity or event consistent with our goals? • Do we have sufficient staff to implement our plan? • Who should be involved in the planning process?
  • 34. Income and Expenses • Everyone wants to know what they should spend and where. • It is hard to quantify certain numbers because of subjectivity. – Location Influences – Size of Congregation Influences – Age of Congregation Influences – Education Influences
  • 35. Telling you a number is impossible • Budgets are works in progress. – The data must be examined • Things you should examine – Percentage of tithers – What is the per capita giving in your church – What are the highest giving months – What are the lowest giving months – What is the average income in your city – What is the growth rate in your city
  • 36. 92.9% - Tithe 1.9 % - Programs and Denom. Income Investments - 2.4 % 2.8% from Other Budget Income The Average Church Income
  • 37. Average American Church Budget AVERAGE AMOUNT STAFF COMPENSATION 118,601 FACILITIES 54,194 Debt Retirement 27,491 Utilities 13,900 Maintenance/Cleaning 12,215 Property/Liability Insurance 4,675 Other 19,336 MISSIONS 45,259 International Missions 28,353 Domestic Missions 22,383 CHURCH PROGRAMS 24,675 ADMINISTRATION AND SUPPLIES 17,853 DENOMINATIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS/FEES 11,539 OTHER 25,430
  • 40. Margin One of the largest mistakes in budgeting is simply looking back 3 or 4 years and collecting the data that shows each year the church budget has increased by 4 or 5 or maybe 15% and average those figures out to determine what percentage of growth to expect the next year. • This isn't the mistake, the data is relevant. The way in which the data is then applied is often where the mistake come in. • Upon finding the average percentage of growth, we then apply that same percentage to the overall income and expense budget. • No where in this process is there any determination of the growth allocated to "Margin.“ • Developing Margin into your budget is a wise choice that essentially determines that you do not plan to spend all of your income.
  • 41. Margin • Many budgets do include a line called "Contingency;" however that is not the same as margin. "Contingency" is usually allocated from previous years excess in budget; which carries over to the next year. • It also applies to some budgets as a "Cushion," which implies we have more income allocated that we have planned expenses, so we are just lumping this in to use as we want to. A contingency fund is a real misleading agent to the church who wants to plan its spending toward its goals and objectives for ministry.
  • 42. Margin • So what is a ministry to do when they have money left in the budget at the end of the year. Let me suggest an idea which blends a zero-based budget aspect to this scenario. When a church has an excess at year end, do not carry that over to next years budget, keep it available by doing one of the following: – 1.Investing it in a short term money market where you can maintain some liquidity for cash flow, this could be very helpful in the summer months when giving declines but usually expenses climb. – 2. Invest in a long term strategy for capital improvements, and strategic planning for future staff. This can also prove helpful in the purchase of large ticket items in the future. – 3. Apply the excess to debt retirement.
  • 44. Good rules of thumb? It is advisable that a church look at the following percentages as a rule of thumb in budgeting local receipts and make adjustments to based on their objectives. • World missions 10% • Personnel expenses (salaries and housing allowance) 35% • Education, outreach, local ministries expenses 20% • Building (rental, purchase, utilities, insurance, etc) 35%
  • 45. Rule of Thumb • Other analyst say: – Personnel and Debt Service should not exceed 60% of total budget. (Those are long-term fixed expenses and therefore only leaves 40% to focus on advancing the growth of the church.) When asked "What would you do with an unexpected financial windfall?" 31 percent of Protestant pastors said they would build, expand or update their church buildings and facilities. 7 percent said they would give more to foreign missions and evangelism. – Debt Service should not exceed 36% of total budget. – Personnel should range between 35% and 55%
  • 46. It’s difficult to say what your budget should be, but… • The lower your administrative costs, the more money you could put to other ministries. • One church report I recently looked at with a 1 million dollar budget showed the amount of salvations. The number was “1” • I would never try to quantify the value of a soul, but a million dollar budget should see more souls transformed! This is obviously a church very internalized.