Sept. 25 - Oct. 1, 2006
A budget is a statement of faith
What does your church's annual budget represent?
Is it a proud menu of the hopes, dreams and missionary ministries your
congregation wants to accomplish in the year to come?
Or is it a life-support prescription for how the congregation expects to pay
the staff, keep the lights burning, the sanctuary heated and the grass mowed?
In a workshop recently, Terry Parsons, Stewardship Officer of the Episcopal
Church, gave this "Devil's Dictionary" definition of a church budget: "It is
the means by which we notify the Lord of the limitations we intend to impose on his gifts
for he coming year."
If we view the budget -- and present it to our congregations -- as an
administrative necessity to ensure proper financial management, then we
shouldn't be surprised to wind up with bare-bones measures that are grudgingly
funded. If funded at all.
But if we present the budget to our congregations as opportunities to invest
in the Kingdom of God and stretch ourselves to see how much we can do with
even the nickels and dimes God has given us, then the possibilities increase.
In the end, a budget is a statement about how a congregation views the future.
Do your people trust that ours is the God of abundance who rewards faithful
stewards and will stand behind servants who proclaim the Kingdom of God? Or,
not? Put it this way: If an outsider looked at your budget, what would he or
she conclude about your congregation's faith?
And what would be a "God's Dictionary" definition of a church budget? How
about, "It is the means by which we make the most of the abundance the Lord is
giving us." Hmmm. That will look nice on the cover of the annual report.
--Rob Blezard, webmaster and editor
Want to reprint this message? See the note at the
asterisk * below.
New This Week:
The Things That Are God's
do you dread that annual stewardship sermon and need a few ideas? Here is one
given by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was at Dexter Avenue Baptist
Church, Montgomery, Ala. "I make no apologies for asking for financial support
for the church. The Church has a just claim on your active, practical, and
financial support if for no other reason than that your home is better, your
community is better, your nation is better as a result of the existence of the
Click here for "The Things That Are
The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education
Institute at Stanford University.
Steps to Better Stewardship
Your church may be doing a lot of things right, but this handy list may
just give you a couple good pointers yet. Nice reality check for Stewardship
Committees, pastors and other church leaders.
Click here for "The starting Point of
Stewardship," from the experts at
the Episcopal Diocese of New York.
surrender our heart, soul -- then wallet
that the hardest conversion is the pocketbook. How does that occur? Does it
happen all at once? Can anyone name the hour or the day that she first gave
her pocketbook to God, the way she can name the day she gave her heart?
Click here for the latest weekly column
by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns,
Fund Raiser for Mission
"The time has
come in our church when we, as clergy and leaders, can no longer divorce
ourselves from raising money for mission. To a present culture of materialism,
selfishness, and consumerism, we are called to model in our own lives and
teach others Christian financial stewardship."
Click here for "Pastor: Fund Raiser for
Mission," by Jerry L. Schmalenberger, former president and professor of parish
life at Pacific Lutheran
Theological Seminary. From
the Lutheran Laity Movement archives.
of the Week!
a sampling of articles with stewardship implications from the popular press.
is produced weekly by the Stewardship of Life Institute, 61 Seminary Ridge,
Gettysburg, PA 17325
--Visit us and our resources online at archive.stewardshipoflife.org
--Send comments and suggestions to Rob Blezard, Editor,
--Message is (c) Copyright 2006 by the Rev. Rob Blezard.
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(c) Copyright 2006 by the Rev. Rob Blezard, webmaster for the