Two: Spend less than you receive.
Instead of living the values of a new Kingdom, our churches often live the values of the kingdom of this world. In other words, many churches live the same way most Americans live – spending all the money they make and even spending money they have not yet received. Instead of displaying wisdom in spending, shrewdness in planning, and generosity in giving, church leaders often succumb to the spending values of this world.
We must display a better way to live by how we manage the resources God entrusts to us. Part of this, I believe, means spending less than you receive as a church. I am not suggesting changing direction every week when the offering is taken. I am not advocating altering the church vision when there is a bad week of giving. I mean watching trends and responding accordingly.
How could this look practically? Here are two examples from my current context…
(1) Have a plan for spending freezes.
When our giving was significantly lower (10%) than our budget last year, I gave the management team some direction on spending freezes. We defined them as:
Soft freeze: Under a soft freeze, the only purchases a staff or department can make are ones to continue to operate at the current level of ministry. An attendee should not notice a drop in ministry execution, but there would not be any upgrades or new initiatives until giving matches budget.
Hard freeze: We never needed to move to this phase because the soft freeze brought our spending down to the level of our giving, but a hard freeze would be every single expense needs approval, including the gold fish snacks the preschoolers eat, the cones for the parking lot, etc.
(2) I will touch on next post…
For now, how have you seen churches cut back on spending? Have you seen a good system in place? If so – please share.