Just found out a teen didnâ€™t sign up for our camp because his family couldnâ€™t afford it.Â Â Didnâ€™t know that finances were an issue; however, apparently they were.Â I found all this out from the teenâ€™s small group leader who was curious as to why he didnâ€™t see the boys name on the list.
Money in ministry creates a lot of tension and thatâ€™s because itâ€™s something thatâ€™s personal.Â While you would love to include everyone in your programs, events, and trips, but, is that possible?Â Maybe; however, without money you would be more limited with what you could do.
A solution most youth ministers use for tight budgets is fundraising; however, all we do with fundraising is waste our time and barely cover our financial needs.Â Instead of raising funds, you need to be raising givers.Â But you are in need of something more immediate, because changing the culture of giving is something that requires time and commitment from your entire church, especially leadership.Â If thatâ€™s you, then try these alternatives:
- Have Them Raise Their Own Funds: I know I just said that fundraisers are a waste of time, so hear me out.Â Instead of coordinating an event to raise funds for the teens, encourage your students to write letters, make phone calls or set up a page on Facebook asking people to fund their cause, their trip.Â Itâ€™s about sharing the burden and teaching them about thinking outside the box when it comes to raising funds.
- Be Frugal In Planning:Â Itâ€™s easy to get comfortable with vendors (i.e. bus companies) when you plan the same events year after year.Â However, if you want the best deal, itâ€™s important to shop around.Â You donâ€™t have to swap out vendors, especially if youâ€™ve built a relationship with them; however, you want to get the best deal.Â The more frugal you can be with your planning the more you can bring down the overall costs for your event or trip.
- Budget In Expenses:Â Instead of putting the burden on the teenagers, put it on the church budget.Â Maybe not the most attractive option; however, one that will instantly bring down costs for the students.Â This might mean cutting the costs of other things you do, but itâ€™s all about deciding what is most important.
- Make Others Aware: One way to make your trips, programs and events affordable is by sharing the burden with your team, parents and members of the church.Â Your church is filled with people who have connections and resources that are going to alleviate the burden of expenses.Â When you start the planning process, ask your team, â€œDo we know anyone out there who could help us with X?â€
In the end the best you can do is create a culture of giving.Â A church that tithes, is a church that wants to invests in itâ€™s future.Â Plus, a church that gives is one thatâ€™s honoring God and as Malachi 3:10 says – Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,â€ says the LORD Almighty, â€œand see if I will not.Â Use money wisely, and see how God will bless your ministry.
How do you take away the obstacle of money from your ministry?
Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.