Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


Too Much Month Not Enough Money

  • Jim Townsley
  • Sep 12, 2014
Financial management is a very important element of planting a church. Perhaps the leading cause of failure in new church plants is linked directly to a lack of finances or the mismanagement of them. Obtaining the necessary funds and managing them is crucial to a successful church plant. In the past there were many churches established without the aid of financial support or without the aid of the church planter working a job. Getting a job, whether part time or full time, may become a necessity. Although many churches have been started while the pastor worked a full time job, garnering monthly support from  sister churches can be a big blessing. It can be difficult spending a year or two getting support, but in the end most men with full support soon experience more growth in the church than those working a job. 
Monthly support for new churches may be temporary, ranging from one year to five years. It is important to work hard  and build the church during this time of temporary support. The time will soon come when the church will need to pay all of the bills and when the church is weaned off of its outside support it can be a financial burden to get the church on solid financial footing. It is at this time that a church is most vulnerable. What do you do when there isn't enough money to pay the bills and the pastor's salary?
Some of the decisions at this time can have long term effects upon the church. Bills can quickly mount up putting the very existence of the church in jeopardy. The problem must not be ignored and proper action must be taken. Usually there is nothing to cut back in the budget, but if there is it should be cut back as soon as possible. If there is nothing to cut back it may seem there are no options. As a result the pastor may refuse his salary, which is not a long term answer. If the pastor doesn't receive a salary for several weeks or months it can lead to big problems in the future. Though it may seem to be a charitable and generous gesture, it can set a bad precedent that puts all the pressure on the pastor, leaving no sense of obligation to the church family.
When the bills are overdue and it appears there is no immediate answer I would suggest to meet with the men of the church as a whole and clearly explain to them the situation. Allow them to ask questions and reveal to them the full picture of the church's dilemma. In addition, offering some options to the church may help members to see what decision needs to be made. The ultimate decision may be a difficult one, but it becomes the church's decision and their responsibility not just the pastor's.
Balancing the church budget and solving the deficit will involve one of three options: 1. The church must have more income. 2. The church must slash spending and decrease the outflow or 3.  Both the income must be increased and the spending must be reduced. There are no other options.
To cut spending the pastor or his wife may need to get a job. Members must realize that a pastor working a job makes him less accessible to study, visit, and counsel. Given the options, the people may prefer to give more money to cover the deficit rather than diminish the efforts of their pastor. Also, members of the church may recognize the importance of reaching more souls. (Reaching souls is not for the purpose of meeting the budget, but a budget deficit may be the means God uses to get members attention concerning their obligation to the great commission.) Another means of increasing income might be for the pastor to go back to churches and raise additional support or if the deficit appears to be short term, a letter could be written to supporting churches asking for an extension of support. Something must be done! Ignoring the problem will soon lead to a problem that may cause the demise of the church.
We must not forget that God allows trials in our ministries to get our attention and to learn to rely upon Him. When there is too much month and not enough money, calling a prayer meeting should be the first option not the last option. Remember, God has promised to "never leave us or forsake us." He can use our trials to make us better preachers and make our churches stronger.