One of the most difficult things that I have had to learn in ministry is BUDGETS. I am not necessarily bad with money personally, but I just spend, and do not really keep track. My wife takes care of all of that for us, and so I have had to learn some about budgets in our student ministry. Here is what I have I learned so far about budgets:
- Always budget more than needed– When I itemize our student ministry budget, I usually put a miscellaneous item under many of the events, because in my years of ministry, I have learned expenses that you were not anticipating will come up. It helps when you have a random miscellaneous budget for expenses that you did not think about at the beginning.
- Keep solid records– I try to keep records on my end, and we have a secretary who keeps really good records. I check our status each month to make sure that we are close, and that there is nothing wrong with our budget so far. Records are important to look back on too.
- Use the Budget– I was the stinginess spender ever when I began in student ministry, because I had this insane idea that I would get fired or in major trouble if I came to close to going over. So, at the end of the year, I found that we were usually under budget by about $2,000. That has changed. I am not extremely liberal and unwise about spending, but do not be afraid to use the budget to support your vision! It is budgeted for the youth group for a reason so use it. I also have learned that if you come up under consistently, the church will see that you do not need as much as they have budgeted so they will drop your total budget. You do not want this.
- Budget should reflect your vision– This is a missional philosophy Make sure that every expense is reflecting the Gospel. Do not spend your entire budget just off of tradition and fun. Make sure that it reflects the Gospel, and the vision that you believe God desires for your year of ministry to students.