Top 5 Do's and Don't of Church Budgeting

Nov 17, 2022

Sometimes the best way to start is with a simple list of what does, and doesn't, work for the issue at hand. Here are the Church Central Office team's top five do's and don'ts when it comes to church budgeting. 


  1. Don’t mistake objective budgeting as a lack of faith. God can do anything. God also gives us logic and reasoning. He gives us the ability to see if we’ve had a decline in giving year-over-year the past 5 years, it’s unwise to forecast a 5% growth in giving assuming everything stays the same. Analytical and logical thinking isn’t counter to faith.
  2. Don’t simply take last year’s budget and call it this year’s budget. What worked last year? Resource it. What didn’t? Reallocate those resources. What new approaches should you and your team implement? Don’t be afraid to fund new approaches and remove funding for those that didn’t have the impact you expected. 
  3. Don’t create a budget and then not use it. It’s a useful tool to help you reach your objectives, keeps your team on task, and gives accountability across the organization.
  4. Don’t forget to include loan payments in your budget. As you look at your current budget vs actual reports, the principal amount does not show on that statement, only the interest; however, this total should be accounted for as it does make a significant impact to cash and your operation. Total the principal amount of all loan payments within a year and include that in your totals.
  5. Don’t expect your team to stay on budget if they only receive budget updates each month or even a few weeks after the month closes. Accounting systems are much more advanced than they were 5 years ago. In fact, all of our Church Central Office churches receive weekly updates on Monday mornings that show each ministry where they stand with budget vs actual.


  1. Do get an accurate revenue range to use as your forecasted income for your budget. You should be using at least 2 points of data:
    1. The average year-over-year change for the past three years
    2. Your year-to-date revenue / the number of months past X 12 months
  2. Do consider any staffing changes such as new positions, performance-based increases, cost-of-living adjustments, and even employer payroll taxes within your budget.
  3. Do go through your recurring expenses and build in adjustments relative to what you’ve experienced in the past year or two. This could include increases in utilities, insurance, etc.
  4. Do include all funds within the general budget. Restricted giving does not keep your resources aligned to the primary objectives. If you have a few projects or specific things you want to contribute to outside of your “typical” ministries, budget for them.
  5. Do remember to keep telling stories of life-change to your church and thanking those who generously give to make that happen. It will encourage others to jump in and expand the reach of what the church can accomplish as your resources expand.

Have questions about budgeting, or in need of some help? Reach out to our team today to get started.


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