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Budgeting for New Churches

When a church is getting started, there are a lot of expenses and very little, if any, income, creating a massive gap between income and expenses.

As the church gets established, expenses come down (there’s not as much capital being purchased), and people start attending and giving, so income increases. The gap comes closer together.

A budget does three things that will help bring the gap closer together:

1.     Decreases or stabilizes expenses.

2.     Sets priority-percentage giving goals.

3.     Sets fundraising goals.

Start with Vision.

Have a big vision! Who you want to be as a church?

Develop Steps Toward Your Vision.

Work backwards from your big vision and list tangible, easy steps you must take to accomplish your vision. Plan all the things you want to “launch” along the way (small groups, Sunday services, children’s ministry, youth ministry, etc.).

For each step toward your vision, assess what the step will physically and financially require. For instance, if you want to start small groups, you may need an administrator, leaders, hosts, teachers, curriculum, etc.

Decide which steps will be the most effective and the most financially sustainable early on. For instance, you may want to start a Sunday service, but you see that it could cost up to $1 million. You may not be able to do that right away.

Next, determine what level your income needs to reach to make each step possible. This helps you set goals for priority-percentage giving. If there is a gap between the cost of the step and the income goal, then rearrange the steps, or set a fundraising goal for that step.

Set goals for the dates when you would like to reach each step.

Assign the Work.

Assign names to those who will physically do the work of each step, and get started!

Raise Funds.

Every new church must do some fundraising. Your budget is a clear picture of your gap between expenses and income goals, and a clear picture of the building blocks to accomplishing your vision. This makes it easy to present your plan and ask people for money.

It’s easy to get people to buy into your church when you can show them that you are starting small, but you have a plan for growth.

Enlist Help.

This budgeting plan empowers your church to do what is logical, functional, and effective. Dime can lead your church through this process. But what we do best is to come in behind this process and partner with you to implement and execute your plan. The accountability and support we provide will give you financial peace of mind and will allow your donors to give with confidence.

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