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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

26 Apr '12

Cheap can be costlier than you think

One of my frustrations in working with ministry organizations is their propensity to choose cheap over whatever it takes to do a job well. It is as if cheap is close to God's heart and anything else is extravagance and a waste of money. 

There is another guide that is neither cheap or extravagant. It merely asks the question, "What will it cost to solve this problem so that our needs are met well and we have stability in this area?" Doing it the cheapest way will usually neither meet needs or give stability. Paying more than we need to may be cutting edge but is often beyond what we need. 

Take a ministry that has struggled with technology for years. A solution would not be expensive as they are small but the lack of stability, connectedness and right software has cost them dearly in lost productivity and staff frustration! That lost productivity is far more expensive than if they had spent the money necessary to maintain a stable system. The difference is that the cost of an unstable system is hidden and can easily be overlooked.

Cheap also translates over to how we often do staffing in ministry. In our desire to save money we frequently hire at the lowest possible salary level and often (not always) get what we are willing to pay for in terms of experience and professionalism. What if we reversed that trend by paying competitive rates, hiring the very best and staffing lean? We would get a higher caliber of help, with greater capacity and need fewer people. Instead, when we hire at the lowest wage level possible we often end up needing more people.

Cheap is often far more costly than people realize. The shadow side of cheap is that it can get you the wrong people, solutions that don't work and hidden expenses that you cannot quantify but are surely there. And since when is cheap some kind of Biblical value? 

Instead of cheap, ask this question: "What will it cost to solve this problem so that our needs are met well and we have stability in this area?"