Common Mistakes to Avoid When You're Making a Church Budget

(Unsplash/NorWood Themes)

Every pastor and minister looks forward to their church's budget season.

Well, not quite.

If you talk to most pastors and ministers about their church budget, they usually respond with either a sigh or a groan. Much like a conversation on personal budgeting. But a church budget is a powerful tool, so it's important that we pay attention to them and how they are created.

Here are five common mistakes every pastor and minister should avoid when it comes to their church budgets:

  1. Viewing it as a necessary evil. As mentioned, a church budget is a powerful tool. It plans out the allocation of resources for the year. This allocation has a significant impact on the trajectory of the church for that year. Preparing a church budget is a leadership opportunity, not a necessary evil.
  2. Not reflecting the church's mission. Here is how to leverage a budget to lead: make sure it reflects the vision and mission of the church. It is usually a mistake to simply adjust a prior year's budget for future ministry. Every budget should reflect the mission and vision for that upcoming year, not the mission and vision from 10 years ago.
  3. Not using math for anticipated giving. Not that faith should be totally absent, but remember that it is God who gave us math. Use it to ensure that you don't create a budget that you cannot meet. An unreachable budget leads to discouragement, not just for the staff but the church as a whole.
  4. Not assuming that future adjustments will be necessary. A budget is a plan. And, almost always, plans have to be adjusted. They probably won't go exactly as you anticipate. So go into the new budget year assuming that changes will occur. Help your staff to understand this as well.
  5. Not being prayerful during the formulation. You are using individuals' gifts to God for ministry, so there should be a sense of gravity when preparing the budget. Godly stewardship should be primary. Cover the budgeting process in prayer.

Church budgets can either be a catalyst or a hindrance to a church's vision and mission. Pay attention to the church budget, and avoid these common mistakes.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

NOTE from Chuck Lawless: is Art's new tool to help with your church budget. This tool allows you to compare your church budget with others and provides an immediate analysis of your budget. Plus, Envelope3 has a rapidly growing resource section. You can check out here.

Our guest blogger today is Art Rainer, VP for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Seminary and one of the co-founders of Rainer Publishing. He is also the creator of "Envelope3," a new church budgeting tool. You can follow Art's blog at

This article originally appeared at

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders