I was still musing about our budget dilemmas (see previous post) today when I was prompted by a post on Locusts and Honey to remember the approach of one of our local churches to setting its budget priorities.
This church is now celebrating its 50th anniversary and is one of the 15 largest churches in our denomination. From inception, it followed a policy of "tithing" their revenue, including all pledges received for building campaigns, to mission. The tithe has gone to mission programs developed and run by the church, the presbytery, local charitable organizations, etc.
In observance of their 50th anniversary they began a project dedicated to planting one new church in the Houston are every year for at least the next five years. Although they are working with the presbytery to do this, this church is funding the project and providing extensive training for its members who are willing to assist in organizing these new churches.
This church has had a lot of building campaigns over the last 50 years. This year they retired the $24 million debt on their only 5 year old campaign. If you examine their budget, you will find that this church has made its priority out mission and outreach. I'm sure that over the years some of the members tried to change this policy, arguing that "this time we can't afford it." But the church remained faithful to its understanding of what Christ's priorities would be.
Here is an effective witness and example that we should take to heart--and budget.