Find someone with strong leadership skills and gifts in finance to direct the team. If nobody in your group or launch team has these gifts, ask a supporting United Methodist church to suggest someone.
Put accountability measures in place to ensure the team handles your plant’s finances ethically. Hopefully, members of your finance team will hold each other accountable. But money is a strong temptation. Try to create a system for managing finances that is transparent and hard to abuse. For example: No one handles the weekly collection alone.
Ask ministry teams (e.g., facilities, worship, fellowship, etc.) to create itemized lists of what their area will need to get started. This also encourages your ministry teams to be detailed in their ministry planning and gain stronger ownership of their area of ministry.
Use the lists your teams create to compute the initial “cost” of doing ministry. This will be your initial budget.
Don’t expect to stick to the budget. It is not possible to think of everything that will come up. You probably won’t perfectly adhere to your initial budget.
But don’t abandon budgeting. Do your best to project your plant’s expenses and income for the next three to five years. You can always make changes after you’ve had a year or two to get a better sense of your ministry expenses. Without a budget, you won’t know how much support you need to get your ministry started.
Make sure you have enough support before you launch. You don’t want to start a ministry only to stop it a few months later because you can’t pay the bills. Wait to launch until you have enough money to cover your estimated expenses. Taking the time to expand your financial base first will set a good precedent.
Trust in God to provide for your ministry. As Ephesians 3:20-21 reminds us, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404