Budgeting Basics: Translating Dreams Into Numbers

After you've let your dreams percolate, the next step in crafting your budget proposal is to translate your dreams into actual numbers.

To do this, go back through your lists, paying particular attention to your answers to this question: What programs, initiatives, events, conferences, training, and trips would enable you to take your ministry from where it is NOW to where you'd like it to be in a year?

Attach a cost to each idea on your list. Now is not the time to trim your budget or look for shortcuts. Instead, continue dreaming. When you don't know the cost of something, research it to find out. For example, let's say your dreams for the next year of ministry include maintaining your weekly program, developing a Student Leadership Team, and taking teens on a summer trip. To begin attaching a cost to each of these large programs, start by breaking them down.

To craft a budget for your weekly program, first figure out how many weeks a year you'll actually meet, taking into account weeks you might take off for the summer, holidays, or school programs. Then calculate the cost of your meeting each week. To run a single weekly program well, how much money do you need for

- Food?
- Game materials?
- Experiential materials?
- Visual illustrations or videos?
- Curriculum? (Or if you write your own curriculum, books / resources to help you prep your lesson?)

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Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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