Youth Ministry Budgeting

I spent yesterday in Boise, Idaho, where I met with Assemblies of God District Youth Director and some of the youth pastors in the area.  I had been invited to speak on some areas of youth ministry with them.

For my third and final topic of the day, I spoke on the issue of budgeting and calendaring, and shared the following eleven “commandments”:

I.  Be pessimistic!  Expect extra expenses and less income; this will help you do more in the long run.

II.  Ask others; look at old budgets if possible.

III.  The Internet is your friend.

IV.  Always utilize a “miscellaneous” buffer.

V.  Remember: when planning, your goal is NOT balance, but profit.  Planning for balance often means in reality you’ll end up in the red.  Planning for (a modest) profit corrects this.

VI.  Resist the urge to be “hopeful” unless the evidence supports it.

VII.  Not everything needs to be purchased; borrowing or otherwise utilizing resources can be extremely helpful.

VIII.  Consider having “sponsors” for special events.

IX.  Remember that you are working with money that may have been sacrificially given.

X.  Be especially careful your first few times through the budgeting process.

XI.  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:21  Watch what you spend your money on, and you may begin to see unspoken priorities emerge.

Not exactly the most groundbreaking guidelines, but nevertheless ones that I’ve come to feel are important and practical in planning things out successfully.  Obviously I have more thoughts about the topic of finances and ministry budgeting than these, but I’m curious….what are yours?

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2 comments on “Youth Ministry Budgeting

  1. will says:

    before starting in youth ministry I had no idea how big of a consideration budgeting was. I have my sights set on a camp that is more expensive than the normal camp is. How would you go about covering that deficit?

    • Good question. I’d say, make sure to “count the cost.” If the shortfall is too much, it may be out of reach. See, though, if you can get sponsors/donations that could cover the difference. There are always possibilities.

      You also could try to negotiate price with the camp and offer to make your camp time at an unusual time of year (away from peak season) or on non-traditional days of the week. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

      You could also raise the price that you charge, but remember we want to price camps/retreats for maximum attendance, do not want to put additional strain on multi-children families, and to not want to make these events only for the “rich kids” who can afford them.

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