5 Steps to an Inspiring Budget - Part 3

Five Steps to an Inspiring Budget – Part 3

Another way to fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants

In this world there are two kinds of travelers. The ones who love to plan every part of their trip down to the last detail, and those who fly by the seat of their pants. I know this will be shocking, but I fall into the latter category. But it does come with consequences. Like freaking out the day before the trip starts. Today I am trying to say some kind of Jesus-y prayer as I breathe in to a count of four, “Help me Jesus, help me Jesus” and then after holding my breath for five seconds gasping for air saying, “Help me Jesus, help me Jesus” again. I may need to work on my Jesus prayer.
All that being said, don’t do as I do (except for the praying part…for heaven’s sake, keep on praying). The past two weeks I have been writing about the process of developing your faith community’s budget. And for that you must plan. Week one was “2 Ways to Build a Budget.” I’m sure you’ve memorized this by now but here are the two ways again:

- “You determine what God is calling your congregation to do” and build your budget accordingly or

- “Look at your budget and either stay constant, cut items, or do a small increase.”
                                            One of those is inspiring and one isn’t.
Week two addressed: Is your budget built with a mindset of abundance or scarcity?
For week three, let’s get down to brass tacks. If you’re interested in determining what God is calling your congregation to do, you do not want to fly by the seat of your pants. It doesn't need to take a lot of time, but it will take time.
Here’s a suggested five-step process:
1.  Start with prayer. And not the stressed out prayer that I have been breathing recently. Spend time reflecting in prayer on what you think God is calling your faith community to do.
2.  Bring a set of three or four inspired ideas to your leadership group or council. Have these ideas written down and include what you hope to accomplish.
For example: In 2017 we will increase the number of children (grades k-5) in Sunday School by 10 children. Here’s how we might do that:
a. Develop a modern-looking flier focusing on Sunday School, what happens in Sunday School, and where and when it happens.
b. Every member will identify kids they know who they think would benefit from a great Christian education experience.
c. The parents of each of these kids will receive a flier in the mail with a hand-written note from the person who thought of them.
Cost to Budget: minimal – printing and mailing.
Repeat – with detail – for each of your ideas.
3.  Lead a discussion about the direction you’re proposing. Find out what people think. Are you way off base? Right on target?  Which ideas resonate most strongly with the leadership? The more you can get buy in, the better. You may want to present the ideas, have an initial discussion, and ask people to prayerfully consider your proposal over the course of a few weeks.
But don’t let your goals die.
4.  Ask for approval for the proposed direction. Then you can begin talking about your faith community’s goals in other meetings, sermons, and in written documents.
5.  Let your Finance Committee base the budget around your approved direction.
A five-step process like this means you’re planning your budget based on an abundance mindset (future-oriented, doing what you do well, and with what you have) versus a scarcity mindset (what you’re trying to avoid or fearing what the future holds). It’s developing a budget based on what God is calling you to do. And it’s out of a belief in God’s abundance and abundant love for your faith community. That will be inspiring. And heck, it just might be inspiring to the whole world as well.
P.S. On November 5, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership in Washington, DC is hosting a webinar, “What is God’s Vision for Your Congregation?” For more information, check it out here.
P.P.S. While I’m gone for two weeks, I’ve asked two of my favorite people to write in my place. Rev. Karen Hernandez (Kuna UMC, ID) is up next week and T.J. Putman, the Executive Director of the Salem (OR) Interfaith Hospitality Network is up the following week. Arrevederci!
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She’ll be sure to think of her readers while slurping gelato in Florence (Italy). She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.