A Narrative Budget Process
by Jim Thomas
Realizing how difficult the budget process can be – we recently adopted a narrative approach to our church budget. This helps us focus more on ministry and less on actual dollar amounts. Listed below is our 2006 Narrative Budget. Some people may place dollar amounts or percentages by each category.
Holly Springs Bible Fellowship
Narrative Budget -2006
One of our goals for 2006 is for our leadership to do a better job of communicating with our fellowship. One of the first steps toward this goal is developing what many people know as a budget. In many churches – a line item budget becomes the source of discussion and focus rather than people or ministries. We are introducing what is known as a “narrative budget”. We have divided our church finances into 3 areas (administration, people, and things).
This narrative budget should give you an idea of what God has accomplished in the past year and what we are asking Him to do for 2006.
Scripture Guidelines – Ps 84:10 A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. (New Living Translation)
The Leaderships’ primary goal is to provide a safe, inviting and inspirational environment for worship, fellowship and service. This category includes utilities costs, cost of insurance, and ongoing maintenance of the facility.
What God did in 2005
This past year saw a number of changes to our facility. We added some landscaping, a new church sign and lights to our parking area. We also improved the lighting situation on the platform.
Goals for 2006
This next year, we need to do complete the landscaping around the front of the building and do some grading in the back of the property. We also plan to add a baby changing station and a roll up door to our kitchen area. We would like to finish the cabinets and island in the middle of our kitchen. We will also need to replace or repair our double doors leading into the fellowship hall.
Administration & Personnel
Scripture Guideline Acts 6:2-4 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. “We apostles should spend our time preaching and teaching the word of God, not administering a food program,” they said. 3“Now look around among yourselves, brothers, and select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business. 4Then we can spend our time in prayer and preaching and teaching the word.” (New Living Translation)
This category includes all costs associated with having a full time Pastor. We are privileged to have a pastor with over 13 years of experience in this place. The pastor with his diverse talents and gifts, provides spiritual leadership, guidance, and oversees the Fellowship as a whole. Our personnel & administration category also includes a person outside of this fellowship who records individual contributions and a payroll company who oversees our taxes and liabilities to the government.
What God did in 2005
After a 2 year process, we now have our payroll process that is easily managed. Since the government classifies us as a small business with 2 employees, we have to keep up with the taxes, FICA, etc. We have contracted with an Internet company to take care of all the paperwork for us and this past year was the first smooth year of this new process. We are also very close to our goal of adequate compensation for our Pastor.
Goals for 2006
Since we are a non denominational ministry, it is very hard to decide adequate compensation for a Pastor. Fortunately some main line denominations keep very detailed data on Pastor Compensation. The leadership is trying to use this as a guide for compensating our pastor. We have worked over the last 3 years to bring our Pastor’s salary close to these guidelines. This helps us in two ways (1) we are fulfilling our responsibility to care for the financial needs of our Pastor, (2) the ministry would be in a healthy position if it should ever need to find another Pastor.
Scripture Guideline Acts 2:42 They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer. (New Living Translation)
We believe people matter to God and they should matter to us. In this category we focus on costs associated with Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, and Evangelism. We desire to celebrate our common life together by inviting new people into the church; encouraging the sharing of gifts and talents; forming small groups for study, prayer and fellowship; and providing meals and special events for the congregation.
What God did in 2005
Worship – We had a computer problem this past year which necessitated the purchase of a new computer system for our sound room. Our current system is easily upgraded and should serve us for the next few ears. We also upgraded the lighting in the auditorium and replaced the lapel microphone.
Fellowship & Discipleship – We have started to invest in video discipleship materials that we can reuse over the course of the years. While the initial investment is more expensive, it should benefit us in the long term.
Ministry & Evangelism – This past year Chris Hanner joined the church Board. We had a number of very qualified and capable men to choose from. Our giving to missions increased greatly over the past year. We provided one missionary with a new laptop & helped the Kunzer’s return to Papua new Guinea. This year we pulled money from our general fund to meet needs of our missionaries.(Typically 10% of everything that comes in our offering boxes goes into missions). We piloted a SPLASH program into our community, and continued our bi-monthly magazine which reaches 2000 homes in our community every 2 months.
Worship – We would like to make CD’s available for the services. This will require an investment of about $1000 in our sound room over the next year.
Fellowship & Discipleship – We are in the process of evaluating our Sunday school program. Our largest investment this year will be in Bible Study & Sunday School materials. We are placing a stronger emphasis on our small group studies and will be making fellowship a major priority.
Ministry & Evangelism – We would like to expand our SPLASH ministry and make t a major focus over the spring and summer months. We are also looking into being more involved in Operation Christmas Child in the coming year.
Here is A breakdown of our current 2006 Categories
THINGS – BUILDING
Tapes & Sound Room
Computer & Software
Fellowship & Discipleship
Meals, coffee, supplies, etc
Bible Study Materials
Sunday School Materials
Ministry & Evangelism
Bi Monthly Magazine
Websites – 3
Operation Christmas Child
ADMINISTRATION & PERSONNEL
Financial Secretary Salary
Ministry Related expenses
Pastor – travel reimbursement
Pastor – reimbursed expenses
Pastor – reimbursed health expense
Employer FICA / Medicare Taxes (Pastor & Financial Secretary)
By Pastor Jim Thomas Holly Springs Bible Fellowship, Hornick, Iowa 51026.