By Brian Kluth
God is bigger than money. God is our provider. While God may choose to use money as part of his provisions for us, he is much bigger than money and he has many ways he provides. Over the years in Christian leadership I have discovered at least 10 ways God provides for ministries and churches. Today we explore the first five:
Budgets are a wonderful source of provisions for many routine needs that occur in ministry. Thank God for any budget monies you may have at your disposal. For some people, if it’s not in the budget, they quickly decide it can’t (or won’t!) be done. But God is bigger than budgets! Do you know it is possible to be a professing believer, but a practical atheist in money matters? Do you remember in John 6:5-12 when Jesus told the disciples to feed thousands? Philip answered, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” The only practicing believer that day was the little boy who had enough faith in Jesus to somehow take the little he was willing to give and use it to provide for many. If you have budget monies use them for the glory of God. But if not, look to Jesus to see how he may want to multiple the little and make it much!
2. Donations and Offerings
Scripture instructs God’s leaders to “collect” people’s offerings. As we use every available means to teach people to be generous and to invite people to give, we will receive people’s gift for our budgets and projects. But I like to remind leaders that the budget is not the giving goal, it is the spending plan. When I first came to a church as the new pastor they had not met their budget in four years. They told me they were trying to teach people to give to the budget. I changed that approach and said we would teach people to give to God because of the Bible, not the budget. In the next 10 years, we met and surpassed our budget (spending plan) nine out of 10 years, and used all the excess funds for the glory of God and the benefit of others.
3. Fees, Sales, Products and Services
We live in a consumer society. People ultimately pay for what they value and what they want. More and more ministries are receiving funds through purchases, not donations – examples would be books, CDs, ministry services, special programs, facility rentals, professional services and fees, and much more. For example, in my generosity publishing and speaking ministry, 75 percent comes from product orders, 15 percent from speaking engagements, and 10 percent or less comes from donations.
4. Reviewing Your Spending Patterns
As the Geico commercial says, “15 minutes can save 15 percent or more on your car insurance.” It is wise to review past spending and determine if there is a more affordable or better alternative to meet your needs. Recently I reviewed all of our insurance policies. It turns out that we were able to save thousands of dollars by switching from one national carrier to another. We actually got better coverage, lower deductibles, and lower premiums by making this change. I have learned that saving cash is just as real as if someone gives you cash.
5. Savings, Special Accounts, Investments and Assets
Beyond routine annual budgets, over time many ministries accumulate assets that are out of sight and out of mind. At one ministry, I was told there was no money for needed maintenance on our property. But I discovered there was over $200,000 in a relocation fund. It turns out the plans to relocate were the dream of a previous leader who had been gone for a few years. I worked with the board and donors to this designated fund, and we were able to redeploy these resources to fix and upgrade our facility. I also found we owned, insured, and maintained a bus for the youth ministry, but no one was properly licensed to drive. We sold the bus and redeployed these resources into fixing up and improving our youth facilities.
This Friday, 8/15, Brian will wrap up with the remaining five ways that God provides.
Brian Kluth is an inspirational speaker for conferences, churches, and fundraising events. Some 3,000 ministries have given out his 30 or 40 day generosity devotionals to donors, and thousands subscribe to his free Enewsletter. You can reach Brian by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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