9Marks is a ministry that everybody should check out. They have a great focus on church and missions.
In the Answers for Pastors section of their website, they address the following question:
Missions. Church. Budget. All perfect topics for the BFFM blog!
Today we are just going to look at the first (of seven) relevant factors.
[Warning: there’s lots of numbers and math in this post!]
Their first point is a great one:
Encourage your congregation to grow the missions budget if your church budget grows, not just in total dollars but as an increasing percentage of the whole.
I’m not sure, but I’m guessing many churches give about 5%(!) of their total church budget to missions. Following this guideline, a church should increase that percentage each year the church grows. For example, they could set a goal to raise it by 1% each year until it reaches 25%.
This is hard for many churches to do. It effectively makes missions a growing emphasis in the church budget. It also makes any other church expenditures more, well, costly. If a church wants to hire a new staff member for $50,000 per year, then to keep the missions budget at, say, 10% of the overall church budget means that the new staff hire will cost more than $50,000 per year.
In this case, the old church budget could look like this:
Overall annual church budget: $100,000.
Missions budget: (10%) $10,000.
Once the new staff is hired for an extra $50,000 per year, the annual budget does not increase to $150,000. Rather, the new budget would look like this:
Overall annual church budget: $166,667.
Missions Budget: (10%) $16,667.
New staff hire: $50,000.
Now, these are round hypothetical numbers. You might wonder why a church with a budget of $100,000 is looking to spend $50K on a new staff, but that’s another discussion…
Anyways, you can see how under such an arrangement that the new staff doesn’t increase the overall church budget by $50,000. Rather, the new staff hire increases the overall church budget by over $66,000!
But there’s more…
Not only would other church expenditures cost more, but they would become even more costly if the missions budget percentage grew each year. If the church above wanted to add the new staff plus increase missions to 11% the following year, then the overall church budget would grow to about $168,539. Obviously, as the missions percentage grows, it gets costlier really fast for a church to budget money for other non-missions items.
Why 9Marks makes this recommendation.
If missions is an ever-growing percentage of the overall budget, then missions becomes the church’s focal point. It is not feasible to have other budget items growing as a percentage. Other items in the budget are considered more like fixed expenses, and in many cases they should be minimized. Missions giving becomes the driving force in the budget, and it therefore becomes a growing priority within the church.
How does your church determine how much is budgeted for missions? Is it an expense to be minimized, or is it a growing priority?
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