One of my early church memories is participating in my church's pony express giving campaign – a campaign in which a saddlebag was passed from home to home along with stories about our church's ministries and our pledge cards. Families were then invited to prayerfully consider how much they could financially support the ministry of the church in the upcoming year.
I don't remember a lot of details about the pony express other than I thought it was fun. (Have I mentioned I was always a church nerd?)
As a youth worker, there are a lot of words I'd use to describe giving campaigns now.
Fun isn't one of them.
As a youth worker, church giving campaigns are now filled with grueling work and LOTS of apprehension. About this time every year, I fear budget cuts. I wonder, will there be enough money in the church budget to pay my salary during the upcoming year? Will there be enough money in the budget to fund our youth ministry? To fund the other important ministries of my congregation?
The reality is that in recent years, my congregation – like many others – has faced budget cuts. The big givers in our congregation are slowly dying off. Even though our membership remains strong, for a variety of reasons, younger generations simply do not give as much to the church.
This means that now, more than ever, youth workers need to thoughtfully approach their church's budget cycle. Over the next several weeks in this series, we'll explore practical things like how to write a budget proposal, educate people about your ministry's needs, and when necessary, make wise budget cuts.
Today, however, we're going to look at what I believe is the first step in any budgeting cycle: Dreaming.