How Should A Church Budget?

I was reading some thoughts online the other day in regards to what many church leaders were saying about how a church should budget for the upcoming year.  What bothered me was that many of them were doing what I refer to as “fear based budgeting” rather than “faith based budgeting.”

Yes, our economy isn’t as strong as it has been in the past.  Yes, people are unemployed.  Yes, charitable giving is down…however…

I believe the church is called to budget according to VISION and not to the VARIABLES in the world.  (If Nehemiah would have taken the advice of setting the budget based on the economy of the nation…then one of the greatest projects that happened in the Bible would have NEVER taken place.)

Now…let me be VERY clear.  The church IS called to be financially responsible.  We are called to plan, have systems of accountability and make sure that we are not being stupid OR trying to supplement someone’s ego by building bigger and greater things.

BUT…when we allow the condition of the world to begin to dictate what we’re called to do as a church…well, that pretty much sucks.

Back in 2001 and 2002 I had the privilege to spend time with a GREAT man of God named Ron Lewis.  I remember him telling me, “If your church is faithfully following God’s direction then your back will always be against the wall financially.”

I’ve never forgotten that…and since that day one of the things we’ve said around here is, “if it is God’s will then it’s God’s bill - what the King wants, the King pays for…and He’s NOT limited by the stock market!”

One more time let me emphasize that this type of mentality is NOT permission to be stupid and just blow like a kid in a candy shop.  However, we’ve got to understand that as a church God calls us to take steps of faith…many times LARGE ONES…to see if we are going to trust in HIM or something else.  (Hebrews 11:6)