Every season presents unique budget challenges. Decreased giving is a common one when summer hits. The issues that accompany an ill-equipped budget can be acute. For example, what if your air conditioning system fails during a hot spell and you haven’t maintained a facilities maintenance reserve fund to cover that expense? Summer is just a month away. How do you know if your budget will be ready when it arrives?
To find out, we talked with David Fletcher, executive pastor at EvFree Fullerton, a church in Southern California, and leader of XPastor, which exists to help executive pastors and others in similar roles lead and manage their churches. He offered these indicators that you’re financially ready for the summer season:
You know how much your giving dips in the summer. You’ve looked at the last two year’s giving, factored in unusual events you’re aware of that could impact giving this year and accounted for these things in your summer budget.
You plan to pay cash for budgeted summer expenses and have adequate reserves for unexpected ones. This means your bank balance matches what you projected and you’ve allocated funds for annual summer projects.
You’ve already recruited volunteers to help with special summer projects. Summer is a crush on volunteer time with annual things like VBS and youth trips. Rather than budgeting for some staff to work overtime on additional special projects, you’ve covered this need with extra volunteers.
You’ve already explained the regular dip in giving to your congregation or donors and plan to stress the importance of generosity in the summer. You’re talking now about special summer projects and showing people why they are needed. This is “air time” that can come as an intro to the offering. And remember, don’t ask for money. Instead, encourage generosity. Talk about how each summer project will change lives, then tell stories of changed lives afterward. And focus on the ministry and life change that happens on your campus all summer long because of generous donations that pay the monthly utility bills.
A healthy budget can facilitate effective ministry even with seasonal drops in giving. And remember, you can help bolster giving by letting your people know that with options like mobile and online giving, they can continue their financial support even when they’re traveling during the summer months.