Is Your Ministry Too Expensive?

I almost feel guilty, like I’m a fake or cheating people.  How could I charge someone so much for something I’m not sure I could afford myself?  You know the trip, the retreat, the camp…the event.  With gas and groceries reaching a new high it almost seems unfair that the church is following suit when it comes to raising prices for a ski trip or a bout of laser tag.
Some of you might say, “Chris that’s why we do fundraisers.” but what if that’s not an option?  What are you supposed to do?

  1. Identify The Wasteful – Make a list of all the events, trips and programs that you do and calculate their costs.  Ask questions like, “Do I need to rent a bus or can people car pool?”, “Do I need to stay in the executive suite at that expensive hotel?”  Most times our trips cost so much because we’ve made unnecessary expenditures.
  2. Work It Into the Budget – You may not be able to do this, but try to work some of the costs of each trip into your youth ministry budget.  Even if it brings it down $20-$50 a kid (depending on the overall costs), people will appreciate it.  But before you put it in the request make sure you are ready to clearly communicate the need for putting this event into your annual budget.
  3. Create a Culture of Giving – While fundraising might build community and provide some awesome memories, they are very time and energy consuming.  A culture of giving is a sign of health, because not only is tithing a spiritual habit, it’s an investment people should make into the local church.  If you can’t communicate to people why giving to God and the local church is important you’ll find yourself constantly wondering why things aren’t changing.

Step 3 is a long term goal, one in which our ministry still needs to grow.  Not only is it a challenge to get adults to tithe it’s also difficult to get the teenagers consistently on board.  If you rely heavily on fundraising you are going to wear out some of your best resources and people.  The sooner you can move away from fundraising the sooner you can move to a culture of giving.  After all we are trying to raise contributor, not consumers.  But maybe you disagree.

Is Fundraising Harmful or Helpful? Explain why.