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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.

01 Aug '11

Your church has a financial challenge

Posted by T.J. Addington in crisis management, money matters, problem solving
As we live through year three of an incredibly difficult financial environment a good number of churches are feeling significant pain as giving is not keeping up with budgets. In many cases, there is reluctance to tell the congregation exactly what the situation is and try to solve the problem internally via spending cuts and even lay offs. 

Perhaps the reluctance to be transparent with the congregation is that we don't want to look like we have not managed the situation well. Yet it is the congregation who are the stakeholders of the ministry and simply laying it out to them often results in many people stepping up to meet the need. Remember that in the typical evangelical church, forty to sixty percent of all giving goes outside the local church so these situations are rarely money problems even in a down economy.

One church I know had a 1.5 million dollar shortfall that absolutely needed to be met. Over a period of five weeks they simply laid the facts out to the congregation and thus far they have seen nearly a million dollars of that need met. And, the leaders were praised for their humble transparency.

Rather than losing credibility in being transparent, leaders gain credibility as they include the whole congregation in seeking to meet the need and solve the problem. At the very lease you don't know what people will do until you lay it out and ask.

If cuts must be made the key is not to compromise the central or core ministries of the church. In good times we add ancillary ministries that are nice to have but not core to what we must do. Those are the places where cuts should take place. In fact, the gift of financial challenges is that it forces us to determine what is central and core to who we are and focus on those things.