The Wisdom of 3 Budgets (A Tip to Prepare for Budgetary Shifts)

It’s that time when churches are looking at their budgets for the year.

Drafting a church budget is tricky business. It assumes that:

  • Every line-item you forecast will be there
  • The items themselves will not change
  • No surprise expenditures will show up
  • All the resources you expect to be available will be there

Life being what it is, however, there is a good likelihood that you will be either: 1) over budget or 2) under budget. A church budget is just a loose framework; you can’t expect your forecasts to be spot-on.

We’ve got a tip that can help even out budgetary ebbs and flows:

Require three budgets from each department; one for expected resources, one for additional resources, one for shortfalls.Undoubtedly, there will be pushback! However, the extra time it takes to decide where you will cut in the case of a shortfall, and where you will spend in the case of an overage, beforehand—apart from emotion and time pressure—is an investment that can pay off big time! Inevitably, unexpected income that is not preceded by a carefully planned wish list will be frittered away on the first, loudest or shiniest demand that surfaces. Likewise, unexpected deficits can create chaos or stress unless priorities have been established beforehand.

The wisdom of three church budgets is a practical solution for good stewardship, individual accountability and overall fiscal responsibility.

Do you have any good tips for handling budgetary shifts?