For many churches, fall is an exciting time! There are a host of programs, ministries, and outreach events that are happening. Many people return to church after a summer of travel and family events, regular programs restart after the summer break, and there’s a sense of energy and excitement about a new season and slightly cooler temperatures.

However, for pastors and church leaders, this season can also bring a sense of overwhelm. Because while everyone else is reconnecting and enjoying a return to routine events and programs, church leaders are (or should be) behind the scenes planning the annual budget for the next year.

With it being such a busy season, it can be difficult to find the time to actually cast vision and create a plan for your church budget. But taking the time to plan and build a vision-centered budget will truly make a difference in the life of your church.


Without a vision and a plan, you hinder your church’s ability to grow. In churches, it’s easy to spend money. There are many “good” ministry activities to support. But how do you know the money you’re spending is the BEST use of funds? The only way is to budget for expenses based off your vision.


Here are three vision-casting budget hacks to help shape your budget conversations and get the most out of your meetings.


Your budget should reflect the overall mission, vision, and values of your church. This goes for each and every department. Think of alignment as a filter you lay over the budget. As you examine each line item, ask the question, “Are we using our resources to help us advance the goals of our church?”


Asking your church to affirm and support the annual budget requires trust. Take time to evaluate how you can grow in your communication and transparency. A few simple ways to accomplish this could be by sending out a survey or holding a dinner for a group of trusted members so that they can provide feedback.


Budget reviews and planning meetings can go negative in a hurry. And while it’s important to be practical and realistic about the numbers, don’t forget to dream. Remind your finance team that God has big plans in this next year. Leave room in your budget for God to show up.

These budget hacks may not solve everything, but they will guide your conversations in a God-honoring direction. In the end, that should be the goal of every church budget.


Your church budget should be a blueprint for financial health and ministry effectiveness. It should simplify decisions and fund the growth-engines of your church.

But, more often than not, that’s not the case.

Sometimes it’s because you struggle to know how to do it well. If that’s you, then Church Budget Blueprint can help.

Other times it’s because your team isn’t aligned. Perhaps you have a finance committee that doesn’t see eye to eye, or a volunteer bookkeeper who insists on doing things the same way they’ve always been done.

We’ve seen it happen over and over again. That’s why we’re hosting a free training later this month: The Elephant in the Room: How to Have Difficult Conversations About Church Finances.

You’ll learn why a healthy church budget is so vitally important to the life of your church, and how to navigate challenging conversations about finances and the church budget with wisdom and grace.

Make sure you’re on our email list so you can be the first to get the details on this free training.

We’ve seen too many churches struggle with this exact situation. And we want to offer a better path forward.

With a well-prepared, vision-centered budget and the tools to navigate these conversations, you can reduce the overwhelm you currently feel, and be confident that you are stewarding the resources of your church well.

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How to Build A Post-Pandemic Church Budget

annual church budget planning

Building Your Annual Church Budget in a Post-Pandemic World

Before we get too far, I completely understand that the pandemic is officially not over.  I realize that our world is still in a state of confusion and no one really seems to know what’s going on or what will happen next. It unfortunately seems that we’re at a point where we’ve never been more divided as a country. Regardless of your stance on the current issues, I’m sure we can all agree that things are a little bit chaotic right now.

You’re probably experiencing that chaos first hand as you try to continue to lead your local church and meet the needs of people in your congregation and community in these unprecedented times.

If you’re like most pastors, you may feel like you’re hanging on by just a thin thread, but rest assured, your efforts are for a far greater purpose than we see right now.

It's Time to Build Your Annual Church Budget

As we head into a new year (can you believe it?!), it’s time that we discuss your church’s budget for the upcoming calendar year.

In 2021, the finances and financial accounts of many churches were unpredictable to say the least. Your church might have experienced this. And because of this unpredictability, you might be thinking that you have no idea how to budget for 2022 based off the current year.

Here are some considerations to help you start planning for your 2022 church budget.

Assess the Current State of Your Church Budget

In our Church Budget Blueprint Course, one of the first steps we discuss for planning your budget is that you need to know where you are. If you’re looking for directions on your phone, it will always ask you to choose a starting location. It’s virtually impossible to give directions if you don’t know the starting point.

The same is true for budgeting. Because your budget is a plan, it is really hard to chart a course if you don’t know where you’re starting from.

How To Review Your CURRENT Church Budget

Begin by taking a look at this year’s financial reports. While the church finances may have been all over the place, you should be able to get some information about the current financial status of your church.

What do your financial numbers tell you? Has church giving increased, decreased or stayed roughly the same versus last year?

There are a lot of churches that look vastly different than they did in February of 2020.  After months of virtual church services, many congregations are seeing fewer attendees than they did before everything started. At the same time, there are many churches that are seeing new people that they didn’t have prior to the pandemic. By being forced to do ministry differently, many churches are seeing people that may not have otherwise stepped foot inside a church and that is a good thing.

In order to know where to go from here, though, you’ll need to get honest about your current situation.

What questions do you need to ask?

What does your attendance currently look like? Are you seeing the same number of regular attenders each week? Are you seeing the same number of visitors? If you are still offering virtual services, how many people tune into these services regularly? 

What does church giving look like? Do you know your giving per unit and giving per capita?  These two metrics will help assess the health of your church giving. 

Along with church giving, what is your average weekly and monthly amount?  How do those compare to previous years?  

Without a good understanding of these numbers, it will be difficult to accurately plan for the future.  

To be honest, the last 6-9 months are probably a good indicator for your new reality moving forward.  While uncertainty still exists, we must realize that many people have established a new normal for themselves, and decided how they will live and what level of socialization they are comfortable with, at least for the foreseeable future. The people showing up on Sunday mornings and those participating in giving right now are probably the ones you can count on moving forward.

How to Draft a New Church Budget

Now that you know your numbers, and have some understanding of where you are, we can begin to formulate a plan to move forward into 2022.

As you develop your budget, take the numbers you found from the past 6-9 months and use those as a baseline for projected giving trend moving forward. Then take a look at your spending and expenses over that same time period. Is your spending in check or are you spending more than you are bringing in? Do you need to make some adjustments?

Finally, think through what you want for your church in the year ahead. What vision do you have for your congregation? Does your projected spending and budget allocations help move you towards that vision?

Be prepared to drastically change your budget if necessary. Don’t allow yourself to get so tied in how things were done in the past that you neglect an opportunity to pivot. One thing pastors and church leaders have learned over the past few months is how lean some ministries can be. We’ve also had the opportunity to get clear and prioritize what really matters. Perhaps there are some areas of ministry that you don’t need to fund or prioritize moving forward.

Once you’ve thought through these important questions, formulate a church budget plan that will guide you and your church in 2022.

Can you adjust your budget Mid-year?

The great news is that your church budget isn’t set in stone. It is a plan, not a legally binding document. The plan you put in place now can be adjusted as you move forward.  While it’s not something you want to adjust haphazardly or randomly, you should do a quarterly and semi-annual review of your church budget to determine if the plan you put in place is matching up with your current reality.

What if you need help with your church budget?

If church financial planning or developing your church budget is causing you stress, don’t hesitate to ask for help and guidance!
One thing that became evident during the pandemic is that pastors need pastors. Let me suggest two opportunities for you as we head full speed into the new year.

First, if you know you need help, schedule a free discovery call with us. We will talk with you about church financial support options for your church and help you decide what is best for your church. Getting financial help is way more affordable than you think!

Second, consider joining our FB group for pastors we call Oasis. Be connected with other pastors who know what you’re experiencing and are open to real discussions about the joys and hassles of being a pastor. You can be real with us without fear of losing your “pastor card.” 

Regardless of your next steps, be sure to take the time now to plan for 2022.  How you plan now will determine the trajectory of ministry going into the new year. One thing is certain, time will continue moving forward. It’s up to you to determine what you do with what you have been entrusted with. The old adage is still true, people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. While plans are never a guarantee of success, and you may need to make some pivots along the way, you will never get to where you want to go without a plan in place.

Here’s to building a great church budget plan and seeing your church thrive in 2022!

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It’s time to change the way we talk about giving in church!