Health and Growth

3 Reasons Why Your Church Isn't Spending Money on Mission

Is church drifting? Are you no longer spending money on mission? Here are three reasons why this might be the case.

3 Reasons Why Your Church Isn't Spending Money on Mission

Is your church spending money on your mission? What does that even mean? And what if you aren’t?

Every church has (or needs) a mission—a purpose for gathering together. It’s a common cause that explains why you exist. Your church’s mission gives you direction and goals to follow.

Every church has (or needs) a budget—a guide to how you spend your money. It’s a financial plan that keeps you on track and out of debt. Your church’s budget gives you guidelines and structures to follow.

Ideally, your mission and your budget align. That means your church is spending money toward fulfilling its mission.

But we don’t live in an ideal world.

Not every church spends money on their mission. Here are three ways why you might not be and what to do about it.

1. Money is tight

Maybe your church isn’t spending on mission because you aren’t spending much money at all. Most churches have small budgets. And unfortunately, spending on your church’s mission can be one of the first things you cut when your church’s finances are squeezed.

If your church’s budget has shrunk, pay close attention to what you’re cutting and what you’re still spending on. Regardless of the size of your church’s budget, you should still invest more into the mission of your church compared to other areas. It’s all about prioritization.

Keep track of this by categorizing your expenses.

What percentage of your overall budget goes into each category?

Which categories are most mission critical?

Protect these categories first.

Spending money on your mission might actually help you to get your finances back in order.

2. Urgency takes priority

Have you heard of the Eisenhower Matrix?

No, it’s not a movie about a former president fighting robots in a futuristic computer program—although that sounds pretty awesome. No, the Eisenhower Matrix is a time-management tool.

3 Reasons Why Your Church Isn't Spending Money on Mission

The Eisenhower Matrix is a grid of four squares that measures tasks based on their importance and urgency. Ideally, we spend time and resources on things that are important. But far too often, our time and resources are drawn toward the urgent instead of the important.

For each major item in your church’s budget, determine which quadrant it fits into. Designate a fund for urgent items—e.g., replacing the church air conditioner. Create another fund for important, long-term projects—e.g., hiring a new missions pastor.

If something is neither urgent or important to the mission, get rid of it. That should help free up more resources for mission-related expenses. Focus more on things that are important to the mission of your church and not just urgent in the day-to-day.

3. You’ve lost sight of the mission

What is your church's mission? 

Is it to serve the underprivileged in your community?

Is it to serve the underprivileged in your community?

Is it to be the best at discipling your congregation?

Is it to plant even more churches?

Your mission can be almost anything—just as long as it’s one thing you can all agree on.

Too many churches have lost sight of their mission. And this is clearly reflected in their budget.

Because where you spend your time and money shows your true priorities.

When you don’t have clear priorities, you will end up spending money on anything and everything. Wayward spending may even be why you lost sight of your mission to begin with.

Rescue your mission.

Go find it and dust it off.

Show it to everyone to remind them of why your church exists.

Announce it from the pulpit. Print it in the bulletin. Then merge it into your spending plan.

Reinforce your mission with your money. A church on mission spends on mission.

Marry the mission

Andy Stanley once said: “Date the model. Marry the mission.”

No, he didn’t say to date models. He was talking about the model of how your church carries out your mission. In other words, be flexible in the execution, but say focused on the same target.

To put that in a more Simon Sinek way:

Change your how, not your why.

How your church gets things done (processes and budgets) will change. Why you’re doing them (the mission) will not. The path is fluid; the destination is solid.

So no matter what your budget is, be sure that it reflects your church’s mission. Regardless of how much money you’re spending, focus on investing it into your mission.

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.
3 Reasons Why Your Church Isn't Spending Money on Mission


3 Reasons Why Your Church Isn't Spending Money on Mission