Church Finances & COVID


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The idea of Annual Budget Projections is being put on hold by numerous Pastors. The truth of the matter is that churches should operate from a “3-Month Rolling Budget.” This means you keep and eye on the Long View Numbers, but you are only operating from a 90-day window. In other words, only the basics and bank the rest.

We are at week #31 in this COVID journey! Pastors were asked about their awareness of their congregants needs. This was broken out in 6 categories. Notice the info graphic.

When you look at this info graphic you realize that church leaders are more aware of the physical condition of their congregants than their financial well being (have they lost a job, are they struggling financially during COVID, etc.). The majority of Pastors in recent surveys stated they “somewhat understand their congregants.”

The million-dollar question is how do you lead a church without a clear comprehension of congregant needs or even know them? Now more than ever church leaders must figure out how to gain an understanding of people’s needs. Stop guessing and start leading from a position that is data informed.

In terms of church finances note the following:

17% – Higher in Giving

56% – Same

43% – Income Exceeding Expenses

8% – Not meeting expenses (1 in 12 churches)

There is a very real sense of hesitation in church finances currently. When you stop to think about it, we do not have a planning mechanism for uncertainty. This makes connecting with people even more important.

Lean financial seasons reveals operational stress that already existed – It does not cause it! Currently churches should be operating from a 3-month rolling budget. This does not mean there should be long-view numbers to anticipate. Rather it is about operating within what matters most in the next 90 days and then bank the rest. Currently anything beyond 90-days is unclear.

This pandemic has revealed that we are not in charge! If there was a time in which churches should be thinking about unconventional streams of revenue it is now. Before, we operated Christian Schools and Day-Cares. Is it time to rethink our physical space of our churches. Our current building were designed for a form of religion that currently does not exist.

In terms of financial reserves it is now being suggested to have at least 6 months of operational cash. While that seems extreme, I personally feel that it would unwise to even dare to operate without a 2-month reserve.

What is most important?

Engagement with people is more important than attendance to our church services!


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