With the economy in the shape that it’s in, no doubt, many churches are feeling the squeeze. I am in no way in doubt of what God can and will do. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Besides, His economy is different than ours. In other words: God doesn’t really have an issue with money… but, He knew that WE WOULD. That’s why the scripture talks so much about money and finances – the dangers, the benefits and our responsibility.
Let me state that I will continue to put my trust in Him that He will meet all of my needs – even my financial needs in ministry. As a matter of fact: I believe that God is in the business of prospering His people with the very things they need.
However, this should not be license for me to throw money, with little, to no caution, at every problem that arises. Nor do I have the right to continue to make frivolous purchases without considering their impact on my budgets and ministries. God still calls me to be a steward of what has been handed to me.
This really is the key to God supplying my every need and giving me an abundance of what I need: Stewardship.
Something significant that I am currently sharing with my staff is the real “defined” value of each purchase. I talk about it in this way:
Let’s assume – for the time being – that we are serving in a church, where those who give, are giving a true tithe (don’t argue with me on the tithe – you don’t have a fighting chance!). If this is the case and you are given a monthly budget of $1,000 for a particular ministry or program – that $1,000 really has a value of $10,000. Get the picture? That $1,000 represents 1 third to 1 fifth of someone’s yearly income. OR… looking at it in a monthly perspective, 3-4 people had to work a full-time job all month just so we would have this money available to us.
What are the lessons here? Not in any particular order:
First: Get the stuff you need – I mean, you have to operate somehow
We have to assume that church-goers understand that basic supplies are needed and simple bills must be paid in order to maintain a church. If you need a supply and it maintains your ministry, there really should be no question about it. Just find the best deal and roll like that.
Second: Plan ahead and look in every nook and cranny
Perhaps God has already met your needs in ministry and now it’s up to you to search for it. Seek and you will find, means that you look until you get the answer. Don’t throw money at a problem where pre-planning, creativity, team brainstorming, empowering volunteers and looking at the resources you already have could help fix it. Make a resource list of what is currently on hand and make it available so your ministry team knows what’s available. Be a good steward of what you have now and God can add to it.
Third: Do what you can until the finances come in… this is a form or stewardship!
God knows what He want’s to do in your ministry and He’s not bound by finances. Dream big and let God show you how you’re gonna finance it. Plan, calculate, talk it up and do what you can and He will meet you there.
Fourth: Spend it on paper first
This is the basic rule of thumb for any budget. Dream, dream, dream and then write, write, write. Show yourself, your spouse, your pastor, the board, and the Holy Spirit that you have a good plan for the finances that you will be entrusted with.