4 Essential Steps Before Starting the Budgeting Process

Ministry Planning is so much more than consolidating departmental budgets and making adjustments to arrive at a final budget. Vision, Mission and Strategy are key. I will assume your church leadership has already defined its vision, mission and developed a strategy to see its vision and mission effectively fulfilled.

With that in mind, here are 4 essential steps to work thru before the budget process starts:

Step 1. Meet with the Pastor to hear his heart for the upcoming year. What changes are required from a financial point of view to align with Pastor’s heart? This will be a time to ask specific questions.

Step 2. Prepare a high-level Finance Model that reflects the Pastor’s vision/strategy laid out in Step one.

By modeling the financial impact of the changes needed to achieve the vision helps the Pastor gain clarity and something to continue in prayer about.

Step 3. Armed with a clear vision, strategy and the most recent Finance Model, Pastor can now share his heart for the upcoming year with the Staff for discussion/refinement.

Step 4. After discussion with Staff, the vision/strategy and finance model is shared with lay finance leaders (and other key leaders if desired) for even more discussion/refinement.

That’s it. Doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, it is.

The result of these 4 steps is alignment, clarity and unity. Everyone’s on the same page going in the same direction.

Now you’re ready to start the budgeting work itself.

One key piece of advice. Start this process early. You’ll want plenty of time for conversations and prayer.

In upcoming posts, I’ll unpack the Finance Model as well as dig into the budget process itself. [Read next post in series]