Things to Consider, Entering the New Year
The attendance size of the average Church in the USA is 70-100. Pastors and Church Leaders of these Churches usually do not concern themselves with end-of-year issues except providing the necessary giving statements. These same Churches, rarely if ever, engage in new-year planning strategies. They look at the Church mainly as a spiritual entity, and therefore, the upcoming year is simply a continuation of the previous year—in the practice of conducting their worship services, receiving the weekly tithes and offerings, and attempting to grow their ministries while struggling to keep their doors open. This attitude/mentality is a huge mistake.
New Year Planning
An old adage declares, “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when or if you arrive?”
Just because the Church is a spiritual entity, with Christ as its Head, does not relieve the Church from engaging in proper planning procedures—the greatest of which should be the first planning meeting of each year. The first meeting of Pastor and Church Leaders should be a time when previous years’ actions are reviewed to determine what worked, what didn’t, what they should continue to do, and what they should cease doing. Why continue doing something that did not work.
The functions of many Churches have nothing to do which God’s plan for that House of Worship, but rather, they are traditions of which the Church has been engaging for years without any visible results.
For instance, I know of hundreds of Churches which engaged in a Watch Night Service on New Year’s Eve. Nothing wrong with that if God told them to do it, but most of them do it for one of two reasons: 1) Tradition; 2) An opportunity to receive an offering prior to year’s end so that the annual budget may be met. The reasoning many use for a Watch Night Service is that they pray the old year out and the new year in, and by doing so, will set a precedent for the members which will make their new year better. Unfortunately, most members are in the same or worse condition as the previous year. This is where planning pays dividends. Plan your year, and then work your plan.
Review the Old before Planning the New
Never plan the new, without first reviewing the old. Sometimes God wants a Church to engage in a new area of ministry, but the Board rejects it due to lack of funds. However, if the Church would remove what has not worked, it would free up funds for the new ministry.
Here are some things that should be reviewed as a Church enters the upcoming year:
- Church Minutes
Church Minutes are required documents that must be maintained. During each annual Board Meeting things are discussed, yet never implemented. They become out of sight—out of mind. Why should a Church plan new ministries or implement new ideas, when it never tried to make previous plans work (unless of course, the Pastor was instructed by God to do so).
- Board Members
As a vital component of a Church, the composition of the Board should be constantly reviewed. The only people that should be on a Board are those who have the Pastor’s heart and vision.
Anyone on a Board that does not share the heart and vision of the Pastor will be the force that will hinder or even halt God’s plan for that local Church. Board Members that were detrimental to God’s plan for that Church should be replaced (There should be a clause in the Church By-Laws that allow for annual removal of Board Members).
- The Annual Budget
Ironically, many Churches do not have an annual operating budget. God will not bless a mess. Churches that are not good stewards of God’s money, will always struggle with finances, and never seem to have enough to implement God’s plan for that Church.
Develop a plan for the Church to actually save money during the upcoming year. Remember, a Church should be as debt free as possible. The borrower is always subject to the lender. Because of community economic issues or inclement weather there may be some lean times during a year. When a Church has money in the bank it reduces the stress on the Pastor and Church Leaders.
- Compensation Packages
A laborer is worthy of his or her hire. This portion of Scripture reference can and should work both ways.
There are some paid staff that have exceedingly proven their worth and should be rewarded appropriately. This is especially true for the Pastor (he that labors in Word and deed are worthy of double honor).
On the flip side of the argument, there are probably some that have not proven their value. It is bad stewardship to pay someone what they are not worth or are not producing that for which they were paid. The Master did not give everyone the same amount. He gave one five, one two, and one, one—based upon their abilities. The last one did not produce and had his compensation removed.
Compensation packages are a huge part of a Church budget and should be constantly scrutinized.
How We Can Help
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