Welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Ken Fisher, Executive Pastor at Church at the Mill in South Carolina. As one of the fastest growing churches in the country, Church at the Mill has doubled in size in the last five years. As a church grows, the staff needs to consider how they operate so they can serve the growing congregation well. Ken is talking with us today about how changing the budgeting process has created unity, strengthened the culture, and accelerated the church’s vision.
- Get the ministry team involved in budgeting. // It is important for a church to have a good budgeting process. Get the ministry team involved and talk about what they need in their ministries. Together lay out what your expenses are and what you would like to have for the upcoming year. Budgeting will help you with calendaring as well so you’ll know exactly what your plan will be for the upcoming year, and what your expenses will look like. It will give you a high level of confidence when presenting your plan to the congregation.
- Demystify the idea of budgeting. // Creating a budget can feel intimidating for some ministry leaders because it’s not something that was taught in seminary. Break it down into simple steps by starting from the ground level and asking what you want to accomplish next year. From there, explore what it will cost to pull off certain events or initiatives. Ask yourself how are you operating as a good steward of the gifts being given by the congregation for the kingdom? Are you spending those resources in a way that impacts the kingdom?
- Align your plans with the church’s vision. // There are lots of things we want to do in ministry, but we need to narrow down our focus, and this is a tough tension to manage. Ask yourself what is working well in your ministry and what you want to start, stop or continue as you go into next year. These questions drive the discussion of whether the areas you want to focus on fit into the overall plan for the church.
- Plan for the unexpected. // What we plan to do can shift dramatically when something unexpected happens. Have money set aside in savings that could be used if something comes up and there is really a justification for using those resources. An example of this could be launching a new campus from an unplanned merger with another church. Determine creative ways you can offset unexpected or unplanned expenses.
- How budgeting can impact culture and vision. // Budgeting can be a way to connect people with your church’s culture and reinforce and accelerate your vision. The senior pastor at Church at the Mill put together the 10 Characteristics of Our Leadership Culture. It helps draw out the culture that the church staff aspires to demonstrate and gives basic guidelines in leadership. One of those attitudes is that “we win when my win is helping you win.” The spirit of partnership across the team and ministries is very strong which makes for constructive conversation when having difficult budget conversations.
- What’s different post-pandemic? // Church at the Mill launched their first e-discipleship program last fall. It’s a weekly curriculum that the senior pastor created, and with over one thousand people involved, it has been one of the glues that has kept the church together. These online groups allowed the church to have connection with those who didn’t yet feel comfortable going back to in-person small groups.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Red Letter Challenge
One of the best times of the year to start an all-in church series is the time after Easter. The team at Red Letter Challenge have become the 40-day church series experts…they created not only a 40-day church series, but offer unique daily challenges as well for everyone in your church to complete. It’s a fun, amazing time and many people take steps towards Jesus! Pastors, grab your free 40-day challenge book here and see what your church can do!