A Guide to Faithfully Reducing Budgets

When it becomes necessary to reduce the church’s budget due to falling revenues or rising costs, several precautions are helpful to sustain the church’s ability to effectively perform its mission.  Here are some suggested steps:

1.  Secure the services of someone outside of the congregation to facilitate the budget discussion.  This should be someone who has experience in facilitating group process and who has no vested interest in the particular items included in the budget.

2.  Complete the usual budget based on anticipated income and expenses. It is most helpful if this budget can be organized according to task-related items rather than broad categories.

3.  Gather the people who have the authority to propose changes to the budget and those with the knowledge of how the various programs affected by the budget work. Be sure to include any personnel who might be affected.

For each item of the budget answer these questions;

How many dollars can be saved by reducing or eliminating this item?

What are the costs of reducing or eliminating this item?

    What will not be done what we are currently doing?    
      -  How important are these functions to our total mission?
     -   How long can our church be effective without these functions?
                       -   Are there less costly ways of continuing these functions?

                What are the good will costs of reducing or eliminate these?

                      Will this be a permanent or temporary action?
                 -  If temporary what will be the eventual costs involved in restoring this                      

-    What revenue options exist with which to preserve this function?