The process of deciding a budget sets priorities for the year. Yet the process can be routine and boring. How can the conversations be livelier, more Spirit-inspired?

  • “Let’s Talk About Resources” — part of Lake Institute on Faith & Giving’s “Shifting Ground” initiative — includes a plan for three 45-minute discussion sessions that can be used across a series of meetings or in a retreat session.
  • Lake Institute surveyed congregations last summer. Faith & Leadership did a story about the study and its implications. (For those who take in information visually, the full study with all the charts can be downloaded here.)
  • Alban author and congregational consultant Dan Hotchkiss offers guidance about how to think about staffing in a new (and, in many ways, old) way.
  • Alban author and congregational consultant Susan Beaumont provides principles by which discussions can be transformed into opportunities for community discernment.

Introducing “Let’s Talk About Resources”

In our COVID-transformed world, this might be the ideal time to reconsider a congregation’s resources — the money and much more. Lake Institute and RootedGood designed a simple curriculum for congregational leaders to broaden and deepen the conversation about resources. The material includes case studies to spark leaders’ imaginations about what is possible.


Money, mission and meeting in person — a new study looks at COVID-19’s effect on churches

If you are trying to help a congregation understand how they fit into a bigger picture of giving trends in COVID, it is difficult to find much more than anecdotes. Last summer, Lake Institute surveyed congregations; Faith & Leadership then did a story about the study and its implications. (For those who take in information visually, the full study with all the charts can be downloaded here.)


Staffing When You Can’t Afford to Staff

Major changes in a traditional congregation’s budget require addressing the cost of staff. Alban author and congregational consultant Dan Hotchkiss offers guidance about how to think about staffing in a new (and, in many ways, old) way. We may need to consider carefully the distinctions that “large” churches make between “staff” and “volunteer.”


From Decision Making to Discernment

The spirit of discussion is important. Alban author and congregational consultant Susan Beaumont provides principles by which discussions can be transformed into opportunities for community discernment.


Before you go…

Pastors often complain to their seminaries that they were not adequately prepared for the complexities of administrating a congregation. When I have attempted to teach such mechanics, the students rebel. They have a point: what makes congregational life interesting is not the details but the culture.  

When I remember to pay attention to what people are willing to argue about and when they stay quiet, I learn more and more about where the congregation is open to innovation and where they need stability and familiarity. Preparing a budget can be a great time to learn about much more than money.  

Please let us know what resources you have found helpful with the practicalities of leading congregations.

Blessings,

David L. Odom

Director, Alban at Duke Divinity

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