by Don McGarvey
A New Year: with it comes hope, new ideas, new faces, new challenges and a fresh resolve that this is going to be the best year ever. It can be so for your World Missions ministry as well as every other aspect of life in your church if you consider these four steps:
1. Start off by doing what King Jehoshaphat did in 2 Chronicles 20:3. He “resolved to pray” in order to learn what God’s strategy was to save Judah from their enemies.
2. Get someone to help you do this. We were not created to be alone. We need to find others to join us as we follow after the strategies of the Spirit.
3. Check out the following web site for some great ideas: www.mat.ag.org All the resources are free, downloadable and ready to use.
4. Incorporate the idea of sharing the Gospel down the street and around the world in your sermons, teaching and organizational meetings. You can find some great illustrations at the following web site: www.worldmissions.ag.org As others see and hear your resolve, they will begin to get serious and develop a new resolve of their own to reach the lost.
Very few good things just happen. Most good things happen because we have made up our minds to make them so. If you resolve that this is going to be the best year ever for World Missions in your church, it will be so!
by Heath Adamson
After a cataclysmic event (Noah’s flood) the Lord sovereignly instituted a process that we can all count on. We never have to wonder what next winter holds: He has predetermined it. Noah was given fair advance from the Lord regarding the flood. He had plenty of time to warn those around him and design/build the ark. Imagine, however, the feeling of uncertainty when you are surrounded by water for week after week? God established security and serenity with Noah simply by establishing a process. When God speaks, nothing can affect the outcome.
God used the concept of process to enable Noah to move forward with God’s plan. A system put in place enables us to launch into the world of the unknown when there are certain things we can count on regardless.
This generation of leadership pioneers change. Leaders trumpet evolution. A temptation is to become addicted to change. In the book Good To Great Jim Collins identifies an underlying characteristic in the organizations that were good but never reached greatness. They were “addicted to change.” Someone once said that tradition is the living faith of the dead while traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Some things need to be challenged, critiqued, set aside or created. At times, however, the weak link is not the employee or the motivational cause. Sometimes the system is flawed. When this is the case, evaluating and improving is more beneficial than starting from scratch.
As you evaluate your current context, be ready to assess what systems need to remain regardless of your season. These systems can anchor you in growth when you need staff or volunteers. There is something to be said for consistent growth over the long haul as opposed to sporadic growth only to fade away. The right systems with the right people will produce the right results.
Before making another change, allow God to lead you in assessing if the problem is really that person or that principle. Maybe, just maybe, your system just needs to be established and remain long enough to produce fruit along the way. Sometimes change is the answer. Other times, however, remaining is.
by Brad Thomas
So you’ve prayed, communicated, labored, communicated, planned and communicated. You’ve finally arrived at a great mission statement for your church. You have congregational buy-in. Everything is great; the outlook is good and there is nowhere to go but up. Have you thought about finances during the process? Don’t let your church’s finances derail your church’s mission. One of the best ways to avoid this pitfall is to prepare a budget for your church.
Unfortunately, the word budget holds a negative connotation for some people. Listed below are some myths about budgets, followed by the truth that debunks these ideas:
Myth: A budget is an unchangeable standard that must be followed precisely in every detail.
Truth: Budgets are only guidelines; justifiable changes may be made during the year through budget revision procedures.
Myth: Budgets limit spending
Truth: Not necessarily. Some churches may need to spend more money on certain programs and ministries. As income increases, more funds can be allocated to achieve the common goals of the group. At the same time, budgets do limit impulsive, irresponsible spending.
Myth: Budgets limit the congregation’s giving.
Truth: Most believers do not give because of the church’s budget. It is doubtful that people who understand the biblical reasons for giving will stop giving should the budgeted income be reached before the end of the year.
Myth: If God provides the money, we will spend it; if He does not provide the money, we will stop spending. Why try to budget God?
Truth: This approach may work for smaller churches with little numerical or financial growth. However, pastors and churches who want to be more effective in reaching and teaching people will need vision, faith, and a plan of action. Budgeting aids all of these.
Where do I start?
The easiest way to budget income is to take your average total attendance for the previous year (this includes every man, woman and child) times $1,200 to $1,500. For example, if your average Sunday morning attendance was 65 last year, then your budgeted income would be between $78,000 and $97,500.
To budget expenses use your average expenses in each category for the previous 3 to 5 years. That will be a great starting point. Insert any known variables (energy costs, equipment purchases, major repairs) and you’re done.
The last step is to make sure your expenses don’t exceed your revenue!
Your mission has a much better chance of succeeding if your budget lines up with where you want to go as a church.