I as soon as heard a well known Christian pastor say, “The business of the church is not the business of the church.” For the reason that mission of native church buildings isn’t to generate income, congregations shouldn’t be distracted by the small print of church funds.
Sadly, time revealed the chief’s refusal to share details about church funds was extra about overlaying his irresponsible use of the Lord’s assets than it was about encouraging the flock to remain on mission. Finally, the pastor was dismissed, the church was mired in monetary controversy, and Christ’s status locally was broken.
This story is one purpose church leaders ought to fastidiously learn Jamie Dunlop’s wonderful new ebook, Budgeting for a Wholesome Church: Aligning Funds with Biblical Priorities for Ministry [20 quotes]. The enterprise of the church—that’s, the accountable stewardship of assets entrusted to an area congregation—could be very a lot a duty of God’s individuals. Therefore, native church buildings should make it a aim to align monetary practices with biblical priorities, such that when Christ returns persons are grateful for each greenback they entrusted to that congregation (33).
Biblical Rules for . . . Parking Tons
Most church buildings don’t disguise monetary statements. Extra typically they themselves are uncertain how biblical ideas ought to inform the budgeting course of. Image, for instance, elders assembly about whether or not or to not spend money on further parking areas. (By the way in which, for those who haven’t priced a car parking zone lately, pouring asphalt is just not low-cost.)
Elder 1: How can we justify spending $75,000 for 25 parking areas? Are you aware how far $75,000 can go in Myanmar?
Elder 2: Sure, $75,000 is some huge cash. However our common giving per attendee is about $2,000. If God makes use of the car parking zone to finally enable 60 extra individuals to change into a part of our church, the car parking zone could be an awesome funding of God’s assets.
Elder 1: I don’t learn about the remainder of you, however I’m not comfy turning the stewardship of God’s assets right into a “business.” We’re about gospel proclamation, not enterprise propositions. And I’m not comfy with estimating that the subsequent 2-year-old who begins to return to our church along with his mother and father goes to place $2,000 within the providing plate.
Elder 2: In fact, deciding whether or not or to not put in an extra car parking zone at church isn’t merely a enterprise choice. And we may select to right away give the cash to missions. However the Lord Jesus directed us to leverage the property given in order to multiply what has been entrusted to us.
Elder 3: Our individuals ought to simply be prepared to stroll farther. And I’ve a tough time believing that including a car parking zone is that essential. God, not parking heaps, is the one who saves. We must always go away this all as much as the deacons anyway. We’re accountable for religious issues; they’re those liable for church enterprise.
Why does a parking-lot dialogue so shortly change into tense? As a result of church leaders are uncertain who ought to lead and in what means. And naturally, parking-lot arguments are tame in comparison with issues akin to employees compensation.
Dunlop’s ebook ably reveals how biblical reality is dropped at bear on such budgetary selections.
Monetary Is Religious
Dunlop, an affiliate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., begins with the clear level that the administration of a church’s funds shouldn’t be seen as distinct from the religious lifetime of the church. Quite the opposite, a church funds ought to be seen as a religious doc (17). Certainly, “what a church treasures—how it spends money—reveals its heart, its values, and its priorities” (15). A deal with being discovered devoted with the usage of its property ought to inform each side of a church’s funds (33).
On condition that the funds is a religious doc, Dunlop rightly argues it’s the duty of a church’s elders to supervise the budgeting course of. Certainly, elders ought to make a aim to plan for a extra spiritually worthwhile funds over time (45). For example, elders ought to take the lead in deciding on outreach alternatives (116–17).
Budgeting for a Wholesome Church additionally contains chapters on compensating employees, budgeting for packages, missions and outreach, and operations. Every chapter surveys the related biblical materials after which applies clearly developed ideas to church budgeting.
Whilst Dunlop makes his case biblically, he affords sensible worksheets and assets that church leaders can adapt for their very own budgeting processes. (These assets are additionally supplied at no cost at 9Marks.) Likewise, the budgeting guidelines included within the last chapter is a useful gizmo to assist church buildings make sure that they’re implementing what Dunlop’s ebook teaches (148–53).
Those that have labored in local-church management realize it’s frequent for members to make a false distinction between religious and monetary issues. Correcting that mindset isn’t a straightforward process. Budgeting for a Wholesome Church is an excellent useful resource that may meet this want. I’m asking our leaders to speculate the time to learn this brief ebook. And I encourage different church buildings to do the identical.