Church Budget Matters That Matter

The heart of a church's budget is to relieve needs.

I think it’s fair to say that there are two line-items ordinarily emphasized by the Bible. The first are relief funds for the poor (see Acts 2:45, 4:34, Romans 15:26, 2 Corinthians 9:9, and Ephesians 4:28). As God’s own riches are measured in his mercies (see Ephesians 2:4) it’s the peculiar glory of the church to use its wealth to show mercy to those who are in need – especially to those who belong to the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). The second line-item is compensation for those who labor in preaching and teaching. 

 

In the next couple of weeks our congregation will gather together for our annual meeting. One of the main features of the night – and the one that seems to draw out the most conversation – is the approval of the budget. Personally, I’m tremendously thankful that in my years of ministry the budget has never been a source of hostility and severe disagreement. Yet, I know that’s not the case for every church. I remember hearing once that you can quickly discover where a Christian’s allegiance lies when you make requests of their time or money.

Sadly, budget matters have hurt and ruined church’s ministries, effective witness, and pastorates. Conflicts that arise over money and resource management aren’t foreign to the New Testament. For instance, very early in the inspired history we read of the troubling episode of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) and of the neglect of certain widows in the daily distributions (Acts 6:1-7). Likewise, Paul was concerned that the Corinthians might not, in their readiness to give, live up to his boasting (2 Corinthians 9:1-5) and it seems possible that his refusal to accept monetary support from that church had actually offended them (2 Corinthians 12:11-18). In another interesting situation Paul asked the church in Rome to pray for him that money given by Gentile churches would be accepted by the church in Jerusalem (Romans 15:22-33). All of these situations required careful sensitivity if the peace and prosperity of the church was to be promoted.

So, when we think about congregational budget matters let me suggest some things that I think matter –:  

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