The money that supports your church’s ministry comes from faithful people who give because they believe in the mission. For that reason alone, there is a responsibility to manage wisely how the funds are used. The church Budget Committee has the task of oversight. One of their primary duties is to create an annual budget.
The Budget Committee Chair plays a significant role in the process of developing a realistic annual budget. That role includes facilitating a successful meeting in which all members feel part of a decision-making team. The Chair has to make sure all voices are heard, that the group can achieve consensus, and everyone will be accountable for assignments. Even experienced Chairs can benefit from some tips for facilitating the budget committee meeting:
1. Be Prepared
Collect and review previous budgets. Create information packets for each member to review and distribute these in advance. Make the information easy to understand:
- Clear format for data
- Complex terms explained
- Space for notes and questions
2. Time and Place
Volunteers have busy schedules. If there is not already in place a regular meeting schedule, provide the members with several date/time choices. If your church has limited meeting space and a busy schedule, it is wise to establish a regular time well in advance.
3. Your Agenda
Any meeting agenda is a guide that can help the committee stay on task. It prevents the group from spending too much time on one item at the expense of others. The successful agenda will schedule time for each item. Committee members can suggest changes during the agenda review. Here’s one example:
7:00 pm Welcome/Introductions
7:15 pm Opening Prayer
7:20 pm Agenda Review
7:25 pm Expectations of Group (Ground Rules)/Roles as a note taker and timekeeper, if not assigned
7:30 pm Previous Budgets
8:00 pm Revenue Projections
8:15 pm Budget Requirements
8:30 pm Budget Priority Discussion
8:50 pm Next Steps
9:00 pm Meeting Adjourned
4. Facilitate the Meeting
What are your goals for the participation of the committee members? Do you want everyone to participate actively in the discussion? Does the team expect to achieve consensus? If so, the group will need to hear all ideas and opinions to come to an agreement. You will need to:
- Send a meeting reminder to members a few days before the meeting. Clarify any member assignments that require reports or updates.
- Lead the group in setting ground rules.
- Respect the time committed. Make sure the meeting starts and stops on time.
- Encourage each member to share ideas and opinions
5. Question the Product
Before your committee presents a preliminary budget to the Trustee Board for approval, make sure the team has considered any questions that might be asked. Try to find all the items that might be challenged and make sure your data supports the need. The last thing you want is to present a budget that is unclear or that you and your committee can’t defend.
Source: Smart Church Management
Churches and religious institutions may be Godly sanctuaries, but they are run by very human people who often juggle many roles and responsibilities. When it comes to financial planning, budgeting and dispersing, financially sound churches do it with the guidance of a qualified professional.
Charles P. Myrick is a Washington, DC accounting firm offering specialized CFO services to churches and religious institutions. Myrick CPA was voted Best Accounting Firm in DC, 2016 and 2017, Washington City Paper Readers’ Poll. Request a confidential consultation, today.