"Put your money where your mouth is." You've probably heard that
saying before. A more accurate saying is "Put your money where your
heart is." After all, the way we spend money reveals what we value.
In children's ministry, a well-thought-out budget makes it much
easier to stay on track with what you value.
A good budget is shaped by specific goals. Your goals become the
lens that everything you think about or decide upon is focused
through. A good budget-development process takes approximately four
The key word in developing a children's ministry budget is
"goals." To run an effective children's ministry, you must have
from one to three annual goals. Your budget works toward each goal
If your church sets annual goals, the children's ministry
department should develop goals that support your church's goals.
If your church doesn't set annual goals, begin a new trend.
Have your children's ministry committee brainstorm goals for the
coming year. Take notes and discount no ideas. After your meeting,
send meeting minutes to all your committee members. Have the
committee members pray and wait on the Lord during this
decision-making process. Meet again to determine three goals. Your
goals may be as straightforward as expanding your ministry by 50
children over the next 12 months.
Once you've set your goals, make a plan to achieve those goals.
The plan should be concrete and measurable as you determine ways to
reach each goal. If one goal is to increase attendance, should you
have Bring a Friend Sunday every month, or do you want to have a
big, extravagant event to attract newcomers from your neighborhood?
Your committee needs to be very specific in your plan to reach each
After you've devised a specific plan of action, the fun begins.
Every budget item now needs to work toward your goal. Disburse
money to best meet your goals. With the goal of increased
attendance, you may want to allot more money for specific outreach
programs rather than craft supplies; or you may want to allot extra
money for publicity for Bring a Friend Sunday. You must be able to
justify how budget items work toward your goals.
Submit your budget to the church's finance committee or
governing board for approval. Include all documentation on how you
arrived at your numbers. If this is a new process for your church,
take time to explain your methods. This will make your request for
approval much more viable. When the number crunchers understand
that your department has put a great deal of thought, prayer, and
hard work into this effort, they'll appreciate your request much
more than if they think it was arrived at frivolously.
The board will either accept your budget as is or ask you to
fine-tune it. If there's a need to fine-tune, get as much
information as possible from the finance board. It's much easier to
come to an agreement on money matters if you know specifically what
the board needs you to modify.
This method of budgeting is time-consuming, but it's very
fruitful. You must always wait on the Lord; he will be your guide
in this process. He is faithful, and as your committee listens to
God's direction, your ministry will be blessed more than you could
. Deborah Evers is a children's minister in San Lorenzo,