Scripture tells us that our money and possessions are not ours, but God’s. We are simply managers and stewards of what is His. As part of our church family, we want you to be equipped to be a good steward of the finances that God has entrusted to you. Below are a few ways to get started.
Have a written budget
Scripture calls Christians to plan to do good (Proverbs 14:22). This includes planning how to steward our finances and resources. Budgeting can often be seen as an intimidating process. However, in planning a budget, it can actually be a joyful and exciting process to plan for how you are going to invest in the lives of people and advance God’s kingdom through finances.
Make cuts to your budget
As a starting place, Proverbs 3:9 says to “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine.” In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells his disciples, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Scripture calls us to entrust ourselves to God with our first fruits, not the leftovers. In doing so, God actually promises all that we could ever need or want (Proverbs 11:24). Therefore, as we begin our budgeting process, we should always begin with tithing a tenth of our income towards the local church and investing in God’s kingdom where we are. This does not mean that we do not financially support other local organizations or missionaries serving overseas. Rather, our tithing to our local church is a baseline for all giving to grow from.
From here, we plan to provide for the needs of ourselves and our family. This will include things such as food, clothing, water, homes and utilities. Crazy as it might sound, this might not include having cable, the latest video game console, the designer pair of jeans or a nicer car. Make cuts in your budgets for things you can go without.
Review your budget regularly with people you trust that can speak into your life
Our hearts often deceive us and what we may believe to be a need may actually be our heart craving to fill itself and find identity in something new rather than in Christ (Jeremiah 17:9). One way to fight for contentment is to open up our lives, including our budgets, to those around us. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” On a personal level, this will look like allowing your Lifegroup and other trusted friends to have input into your life and your finances.
Here’s how we practically implement these steps at Midtown. Twice a year, we go through our budgeting process. During this process, we plan for the coming months in expectation of what we are going to receive in donations and how we are going to steward the resources God has entrusted to us.
- For our spring budget process, an email is sent out to all of our ministry teams on November 1 to begin submitting budgets for the spring (January to July).
- During November, our ministry teams meet together, pray through and come up with a plan for how much money to spend for their area of ministry. The budget for their ministry area is submitted for review along with a description of how the funds will be used and why it should not be cut.
- By December 10, the lead pastors of our various churches meet to review the requested budgets and make any necessary cuts that are needed.
- By December 15, we meet with our financial advising team, which is made up of a few missionary members within our church family. During this meeting, we do a comprehensive, big picture financial review. We review and receive feedback from this team on our current approved budget and current financial state of our church.
- Finally, we post the approved budget on midtownmoney.com for all of our staff to use and adhere to. In addition, should an expense come up during our budget cycle that was unexpected and not budgeted for, our ministry leaders submit an overspend request to be reviewed by the lead pastors of each church.
Our desire is for our church family to view and handle financial resources correctly through the lens of the gospel. For additional teaching on budgeting and using wealth well, you can listen to the sermons below: