Should Your Church Increase Its Budget?

In a new article in Christianity Today this week, financial advisors and other church specialists offered opinions as to whether churches should increase their operating budgets in 2011. Chuck Bentley, CEO with Crown Financial, called the question “a journey of faith…ever increasing our commitment to resources for God’s kingdom,” but he warns that many regions of the U.S. are still struggling economically. He advises a cautious budget increase “certainly without incurring debt.” Gary Moore, founder of the Financial Seminary, advised a modest increase in this third year of the U.S. presidential cycle, saying a decline in the U.S. stock market in 2011 is unlikely. Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, has observed church members exercising “cautious optimism” with donations and some positive trends in giving. David Kinnaman of the Barna Group, however, did not offer advice on budget increases but rather gave the results of his research on the financial position of churches: “Very few churches are intentionally planning for recalibrating their ministry…to meet the demands of the new economy.” And Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research said “we have not seen a rapid rebound in wages or earnings of Americans…the basic principle of the tithe is based on earnings. Churches should be modest in their budgeting for the new year.”

Christianity Today 7/20/10

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