Pivoting Your Church Budget

As we continue in this Ministry Pivots Series during this season of COVID-19, we have to look at how our ministry budgets need to pivot. Every Church has been impacted through their giving somehow, according to an April 2020 study from CapinCrouse. This study showed that most churches saw an increase in online giving, because there was no other way to give. It also showed that over 50% of churches saw a decrease in overall giving. So, the question is what do you do when your giving is down, how does it impact your budget? I believe there can be a mix of pivots used to be more effective during this season.

Pivot No. 1: Pivot your expenses. Yes, the bills like lights and A/C might have shifted some because you aren’t in the building as long during the week with as many people. Those savings are great but what about your ministry expenses? What ministry events did you plan to do this summer and in the fall that might look different because of this season? How can you shift those dollars toward other ministry opportunities that can meet the new needs of this season? There are several churches helping to feed and to provide basic essentials for those in the community.

Pivot No. 2: Pivot your ministry partnerships. What would it look like if your church worked with other churches and other community organizations to reach more people? Instead of having all of the funds come from your church, maybe you can share the expense with another church. What if you can just provide your church’s fellowship hall or parking lot as a space used for the sorting, packaging and distributing of supplies?

Pivot No. 3: Pivot your staff project budget. We have heard of several companies who have shifted or made the pivot away from their core business in this season toward meeting a new need. There are several factories in our area who used to produce other products but are now producing masks and face shields. This means that those employees who used to make other products have learned to make new ones to meet the current need. The question is how can you redeploy your current staff to help and work in other areas to meet new needs and assist with new projects? We will discuss this more under the staff and leadership pivot, but I want to list it here as it has a major budgetary impact, if done correctly.

Pivot No. 4: Lastly, pivoting not just how we spend the resources but also how we receive the resources. Before this season, our church was focused on increasing the percentage of our offering from online giving. As a result, we have increased the opportunities that our congregation has to pay their tithe and offering. From mailing in their offering to Cash App and other means of giving. The point here is to make sure that you’re allowing your congregation every chance and means possible to pay their tithe and offering.

What would you add to the pivot in budgets and what have you seen done?

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Russell St. Bernard
Russell St. Bernard

Russell St. Bernard is the director for ministry operations at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the founder of After the Music Stops, a full-service youth ministry company as well as founder of Ministry Pivot, a company dedicated to assisting leaders and churches seize opportunities for growth.