Nov. 3 - 9, 2008


Here is an archive column from 2006. Enjoy!

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

Reprint rights gladly given to congregations for nonprofit, local use. Just include the following note: "Copyright (c) 2006, Rev. Robert Blezard, Used by permission." All other uses, please inquire:

New This Week:
Lutheran RoseStewardship Bulletin Inserts
Here’s a wise adjudicatory that has made over three dozen ready-to-print stewardship bulletin inserts available to its churches. Topics range from Biblical principles, tithing, use of time, Christmas, the Sabbath and volunteerism. Good stuff! Great inspiration for your own stewardship communications. Click here for “Stewardship Bulletin Inserts,” from the Synod of Alberta & the Territories, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

Baylor UniversityStuff Love
Even with our economy on the ropes (or maybe because of it), we are hearing a lot of nervousness about how much consumers will spend this Christmas. To help put perspective on the issue, here’s a thoughtful, well-written essay about America’s addiction to consumerism. A very good read! Click here for “Stuff Love,” from the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University.

SharronSpark a Conflagration of Light and Hope
“We live in uncertain times fueled by economic disaster, war, poverty, and contentious politics. The easiest thing to do would be to circle the proverbial wagons and hunker down with passing thanks that we at least have roofs over our heads.” Click here for “Spark a Conflagration of Light and Hope,” the latest essay by SOLI columnist Sharron Reissinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Stewardship: Faith or Money?
Church MagazineThis is a healthy discussion of how congregations can move stewardship from talking about just money to talking about faith. “Stewardship as a way of life will not happen with a single homily, announcement, bulletin notices, or another program. Stewardship is lived discipleship.” Click here for “Stewardship: Faith or Money,” from Church magazine, a Catholic publication.