Church budgets: the big picture
    August 12 2014 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

    Summertime and the living is easy, according to the old song. But in many churches, committees are working diligently on budgets to gear up for the fall schedule. Committees are poring over spreadsheets and printouts; prayers for guidance are made, pots of coffee consumed.
    I often work with budgets and I know they can be trying! Creating a church or convention budget is when we assign dollar values to the ministries God has called us to carry out. The determination we make about how we will spend church ministry and mission dollars is where the rubber hits the road. Budgets are where the church assigns dollar values to her best intentions. The budgeting process paints a picture, not of what we would like to do, but what we can afford to do, thus what we really will do.
    May I offer five suggestions on big picture budgeting?
    1.  Consider your church’s stewardship status. Sadly, many Baptists fall short of tithing a tenth of their incomes and miss even more the generous giving taught in the New Testament. Statistics suggests that most Baptists give approximately 2-3 percent of their personal incomes, perhaps a bit more, to their churches, a percentage not even a good tip for the server at a restaurant. Does your church need to do more in educating the members about the obedience of giving to God?
    2.  Remember that baseline funding for the local church, so it can pay its bills and support its staff, is just the start. The church exists not just to survive, but to bring a lost world into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. To impact lostness, a church requires additional funds beyond the baseline for local ministry. 
    3. Acts 1:8 reminds us that outreach starts where we are, in our Jerusalem, but must continue across the homeland even to the ends of the earth. Like first-century churches, North Carolina Baptists have found they can best obey this instruction by partnering our income with those of other like-minded believers, thereby fielding some 10,000 missionaries and supporting many life-changing Christian ministries. 
    4.  Does your church have a strategy to reach the 5.8 million lost people estimated to live in our state now? You think not? Actually, if your church supports the Baptist State Convention through the Cooperative Program, you do have such a strategy! Your church supports N.C. Baptist Children’s Homes, the planting of 100+ new churches each year across our state, strengthening existing churches plus a wide range of evangelistic outreach efforts, mission partnersffhips, conference centers and training events that help bring thousands to Christ. Our convention’s bold new strategy to raise up disciple-making churches will help us reach even more lost people with the gospel.
    5.  As you pray over our Lord’s Acts 1:8 challenge, please consider increasing your church’s Cooperative Program giving. This is how we Baptists partner together on missions and ministry beyond our Jerusalem to our state, nation and world. 
    How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” 2 Corinthians 8:2

    8/12/2014 9:53:24 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments
    Filed under: budget, finances, stewardship, tithes

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