Are You Wasting Money In Your Ministry?

Courtesy of Patrick Hoesly/Creative Commons License

Just bought a television for our student ministry.  Ordered it online, got a great deal and squeezed it in before the fiscal year turns over.  It’s not that I had extra money to spend, this was a planned purchase, it was just a little last minute.  When it comes to making purchases for my youth ministry there are ones that are carefully thought out and other times when it’s fueled by a little impulse.  There might be a great sale on resources or a deal on a new book.  But, if it isn’t in the budget, most times I won’t go for it.
Not sure if you think about the purchases you make for your ministry, but you should.  After all it’s been given to you as one of your many responsibilities and like many resources it needs to be used wisely.  So, are you using it wisely?  Do you even know how to manage money wisely?  You need to or else you’ll only find yourself struggling and frustrated when it comes to requesting a budget.  In order to be wise with your money you need to make sure you:

  • Track Your Spending – It doesn’t sound sexy; but, it is necessary.  When we know where the money we can see if what we budgeted for is accurate.  I keep a filing system where I place receipts and write which account they come out of and what exactly that purchase is for.  Then at the end of each month I can see whether what spending habits need fine tuning.  
  • Research Before Acquiring – Are you getting the best deal?  Just because you might have gotten it from Craigslist or Amazon doesn’t mean you made the wisest purchase.  Before buying something for your ministry (especially a large purchase) make sure you compare prices, research return policies and warranties.  One of the worst guilts to deal with is buyers remorse.
  • Work On Your Personal Finances – Again your personal finances will affect your professional ones.  If you struggle with this area at home chances are you are going to do the same at work.  Before you make a purchase ask yourself, “Would I do the same if this was a personal purchase?”  Make your ministry budget as personal as your home budget and you’ll feel the tension and emotions that will force you to be prudent.
  • Build Accountability – If you aren’t confident with money surround yourself with people who are.  There is someone at your church who is natural at accounting, and/or thrifty when it comes to shopping.  Seek them out and if possible delegate to them those responsibilities.

Money shouldn’t be scary; but, it should be taken seriously.  A healthy ministry is one that uses it’s resources wisely.  Before you can ask for a larger budget you need to know that you are using what you have as wisely as possible.

What other money management tips would you suggest?

How comfortable are you with money?