5 Best Practices for Funding Your Mission

Every Lead Pastor is responsible for financing the mission.  As a Lead Pastor you have to own it.  We can delegate a lot of the responsibilities to the financial team, business administrator, or executive pastor, but at the end of the day the buck stops with you.  The degree in which your church is funded lands squarely on your shoulders.

At the same time, many Lead Pastors shy away from this role.  It’s almost as if they feel less spiritual if they think and talk about issues related to funding the mission. Because of this, it’s not unusual for churches to go under-funded or for significant ministry opportunities to simply never happen.

We could all use more funding.  Vision simply has a way of always out pacing our resources.  I’m convinced that we can be better funded with a little intentional effort.  Here are five best practices for funding the mission that I’ve observed and practiced over the years.

They talk about money.  Sometime during the 80’s we got the idea that we shouldn’t talk about money.  We went to great lengths to avoid the conversation.  We even invited people not to give when we passed the offering plates or baskets. At the same time, leaders who finance the mission don’t back away when it comes  to talking about money. They recognize that it’s their responsibility and they are intentional about talking to their teams, staff, and entire congregation.  Not talking about money doesn’t overcome the challenge of financing the mission, it only intensifies it.

They are conservative operators.  They expect God to do great things, but at the same time they realize they must live within their means.  This often plays out in three common ways:

  1.  They set their budgets on what they know, not on what they assume.
  2. They keep their staff percentages well below the norm.
  3.  They have a system for monitoring their budget regularly.

They help others win financially.  They understand that if the people they shepherd win, the church wins.  They are intentional about systems being put into place that teach people how to budget, save, and get out of debt.  I am convinced that the number one way of financing the mission is a long-term financial ministry.  This should be the first thing we staff and fund as a church, and not the last.

They understand the importance of focused campaigns.  They understand that a capital campaign is really not a capital campaign, but a spiritual initiative.  God uses these times of focused intensity to disciple His people, create movement, and fund his mission.

They are accountable and they communicate. They openly thank people for their sacrifice.  They connect their giving with real life change and ministry.  They are financially accountable to the body.  They create trust.  They are over- the-top in communicating through some kind of end-of-the-year report.

Here are five practical applications, based on these best practices, you can apply this year.

  1. Preach at least one series on giving.
  2. Budget on 90% of your income and keep staffing to 35% of total budget
  3. Launch a financial ministry that includes regular classes on getting out of debt, saving, and giving.  Include financial counselors.
  4. Schedule a capital or generosity campaign.
  5. Present an over-the-top end-of-the-year report.

We would love to help you win in these areas.  For your generosity and campaign needs don’t hesitate to reach out to us, the Auxano Team (www.auxano.com), or email me at davidp@auxano.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Putman

David Putman

David is a Lead Navigator serving on the Auxano Team, the category leader in vision clarity and vision focus campaigns. He is also founder leader of Planting the Gospel a non-profit ministry committed to helping churches move discipleship from a program to a culture. He has been involved in church planting for over twenty years as a planter, strategist, and coach. He is author of I Woke Up In Heaven, The Gospel Disciple, Detox for the Overly Religious, Breaking the Discipleship Code, and co-author of Breaking the Missional Code with Ed Stetzer. He latest book The Gospel Disciple Journey will be released in February 2014. David’s life mission is to help others discover the simplicity, centrality, and beauty of Jesus and his ways. David is married to Tami and they have two awesome kids, and two even more awesome grandkids.

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Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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