Is it right for the congregation to vote on the annual church budget?

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Does your church congregation vote on the annual church budget?  Church Order is really vague and church practice seems to be extremily diverse.  If your congregation votes on the budget how do they become familiar enough with it to "own" it.  Thanks..

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We adopt the church budget at a congregational meeting in December for the following Jan-Dec.  A committee is put in charge of creating the budget, and the congregation is welcome to ask any questions they'd like before they affirm the work of the committee and take ownership of the budget.  

At a spring congregational meeting we review the audited financial statements and previous years budget results.

Community Builder

We do a similar thing to what Melissa's church does, except we're a little late on it (we actually end up approving the Jan-Dec. budget in Feb. of that same year, somewhat retroactively).

As far as "ownership" goes, one thing that we've done is we've encourage people to make ministry proposals that could be included as project based initiatives in the budget each year--this give people an opportunity to put something on their hearts into the budget and make it tangible.

Otherwise, I've heard of churches that do a totally pledge-based budget (and I think this is a great idea). They gather pledges in November or so, and then make their budget ONLY out of the money in the pledges. This way, if the people do not pledge "enough" then ministries get cut. If they pledge "extra" then the church can take on extra ministries. 

That kind of budget only works though if the church is serious about biting the bullet and will actually cut things if there's no money and/or add things if there is. This way the church membership sees a direct correlation between what they put in and what comes out. If you do it halfway, like some churches do, where they collect the pledges, but their budget is still based on what they "usually" do, then you'll just end up with people not making pledges and the whole thing will be a waste of time for everyone.

I'm not sure how to make the transition from our type of budget to the one I just talked about in an already established church, but I'm thinking about talking about it with the Council and seeing if we could head that way...any suggestions would be appreciated!

in His service,

 

Dan.

Participant

Our congregation votes on the next year's church budget at our annual December meeting.  The deacons solict funding requests from the various committee heads during the fall and then work to craft a budget that balances needs, anticipated giving, and church goals.  The congregation receives a basic line item budget two weeks before the meeting, so that they have time to review it and voice any major concerns before the actual meeting.  We often get lively discussion that requires that the deacons provide more detailed explanations of budget items, but in my experience we've always ended up with a budget that gets (near) unanimous support by the time it reaches the congregational vote. 

Our church is fairly small (about 100 adult professing members), so generating "buy-in" isn't as difficult since almost everyone is involved in at least one church activity receiving budget funds and many sit on committees that have to submit their funding requests each year.

I've always assumed it was mandatory to bring the church budget to the annual congregational meeting for approval.  All churches I have been in have done this.   All non-profits societies and charities are required to have an annual meeting of membership with proper notice, which approves the financial statement and the next years budget, at least in Canada.   This also improves communication, and increases understanding and "ownership".    Sometimes adjustments to budget are made at the annual congregational meeting.  

This budgeting is not done by the deacons, but by the council as a whole in cooperation with the treasurer, who may or may not be a member of council, but usually is not.   Generally the deacons submit a list of proposed offerings to the council for approval, but this is not part of the budget as it is over and above the budget. 

We do not use pledges, but rather assume the giving on the principles of giving as the Lord blesses, and as the need arises.