I believe that there is a direct correlation between how a church spends its money and its effectiveness in engaging the world. If the church spends all its money on itself (I mean using it to run the “show” – I would include staff, building, etc. in this), there's a pretty good chance that it's going to be stalled out as far as growth is concerned. I am shocked (although, I shouldn’t be) by how most churches use their money. Seriously, many churches feel like it is a herculean achievement to allocate 10% of their money outside of the building and its members.
One of the churches that I've had the privilege of helping start, Emmaus Church, actually spends 50% of its budget outside of their building/members, in the community where they reside.
Their Budget looks like:
- 50% - General expense
- 25% - Global Engagement
- 25% - Local Outreach
The Global and Local would include things such as trans-local outreach, evangelism, social justice, community development and church planting. It is incredibly ambitious for a group to spend that much money outside of running the church, but I think it is the direction churches have to go to ensure that they are viable and missional into the future.
The church plant that I am starting is going to initially use a breakdown of:
- 66% - General
- 12% - Trans-local (out of our region)
- 12% - Local Outreach
- 10% - Save
I obviously don’t have the faith that David Von has at Emmaus :)
Regardless of allotment percentages, a church has to think/pray long and hard about how they use the resources God has charged them to manage for His Kingdom. A church has to settle whether it really wants to behave “missionally,” or just use the word in its Mission Statement! To be sure, it is not a magic formula or a panacea for engaging the world. Money is only one facet in how a community operates. That said, if the church’s identity is “missional” than it is imperative that it is somehow reflective in its use of money.
Do you know of another church that is giving away more than Emmaus? Budgeting 50% of their resouces to be given away? I'm sure there are - I just don't know of them.
How much does your community set aside to be used for something other than "your community?"