It’s time for you to begin your annual campaign. It’s April and you need to get ready now. But how can this be? Most of you have scheduled an October or November campaign. April does seem a bit early. After all, you don’t yet have a good feel for what income is going to be like in 2017, so how can you project 2018? How can you construct a budget so early?
That is exactly the problem. Your budget process shouldn’t start with checking the previous year’s income or trying to guess next year’s income. Your budget process begins by answering the question, “What is God wanting us to do on His behalf going forward?” It begins with a discernment process that explores where God is trying to take you.
This is the month to gather your key leaders in a retreat to listen and discern God’s call for your church. What, especially, is He calling you to be or where is He calling you to go? What might He be asking you to leave behind? No talk of money or plan – just let God take control. This could take a couple of months. Once that is discerned, you go to step two.
Step Two: This is where your ministry teams and staff prepare the plans to accomplish God’s call upon your church. Everything must be justified by the discerned vision. This, too, could easily take two to three months.
Step Three: Plans go to the finance team to determine how to budget for them. The priorities of funding center on the vision and are then shared with the congregation through a missional budget format (which assigns line items to the areas of ministry they support). Set aside two more months.
The longer you wait to get started, the greater the chance that Step Three will overtake Step One. This is a sure-fire way to ensure stagnation and decline.
So, go ahead … get started on your 2018 budget campaign this month. You’ll be glad you did.