Three Leadership Landmines That Can Derail Your Budget

Three Leadership Landmines That Can Derail Your Budget

“The Senior Pastor won’t be in the meeting.” That was the reply a lay leader shared with me once when his church wanted my help. I replied that the meeting would be worthless unless the pastor showed up. That wasn’t the answer they were looking for, and I never heard from the church again. You might think I was being harsh, but I have learned from experience that without leadership, Senior Pastor leadership, churches struggle to make their budgets.

In this edition of the Journal, we are focusing on planning and executing a successful 2024 budget. In my over twenty-five years of helping churches increase giving, I have found three major leadership landmines that can and will derail you, making your new budget and being fully funded.

Landmines are things an enemy hides to deter someone from moving forward. Step on a landmine, and any and all progress to the goal stops. To get to your goal you must avoid the landmines strewn around you.

What leadership landmines most often blow up a church’s chances of making your budget? Here are my key landmines that may be impacting you…

1. Disengaged leaders. The biggest landmine is that too many church leaders simply don’t care about giving. The reason I can say that is that few spend any time on building a culture of generosity. What we spend time on shows what we value. This is true in our personal and professional lives. How much time do you spend on stewardship planning?

To be fair, The Tyranny of the Urgent keeps many leaders from thinking they have time to worry about giving. That is one thing, but the other is that too many leaders simply hate anything related to money. The result is that most pastors and leaders just don’t care about being involved in stewardship. That is, until they get desperate.

If you want to make your budget you have to be engaged! Leaders of fully funded churches realize that the buck stops with them. If no one owns being fully funded, then being fully funded will be next to impossible to realize. If you are a leader in your church, get engaged!

2. Unaware leaders. I am shocked that many leaders do not know about their giving trends. Many pastors don’t even know their annual budget or what they need weekly. How can you lead your church to be fully funded and be ignorant of how things are going? Landmines count on people being unaware of their presence. You must be aware!

You need to know how giving presently stacks up to previous years, quarters, months, and weeks. Do you know? You need to know more than just how much came in last Sunday or last year. Do you know how many givers you lost as opposed to how many you gained? Do you know which donor segments are growing and which are declining? Do you know how many new givers you see on a monthly basis? Do you know how giving is truly going?

If you want to make your budget you have to be aware! If you are unaware of where giving stands, you could be heading for a July disaster in terms of doing all you feel God has for your church. You have to keep your finger on the pulse of giving at your church. Otherwise, you might be heading for a train wreck. If you are a leader in your church, get aware!

3. Coasting leaders. Here is where I find most leaders when it comes to giving and generosity building. Most in the church are continuing to do what they have always done. Basically, they are coasting when it comes to working on being fully funded. They assume what worked last year, or in some cases in the last century, will still work today. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is a saying I coined…

If you keep doing what you have always done, you will not get what you always got.

Maybe that is poor grammar, but you get the point. Churches are famous for saying, “We’ve never done it that way before.” Those seven deadly words can assure that you will NOT make that budget you are working hard on now. Times have changed, and the process of how we collect funds must change, as well as how we communicate our message. The changing demands of the day we live in means we must continually work on our message and process. We can’t simply coast.

If you want to make your budget and be fully funded for the coming year, you have to keep pedaling! Even if you made your budget last year there is no guarantee that you will this year. You have to keep working at it, 365 days a year! The good news is that the Stewardship Journal is here to help. But we can’t do that work for you.

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