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Numbers DO Matter in Small Church Uthmin – Part 3

 —  March 24, 2014 — 5 Comments

Been following along with my train of thought about numbers? Then you know that I said Part 3 is about how to figure your youth ministry budget. (For Part 1 on youth participation and Part 2 on volunteer requirements, see post from 3/18 and 3/20).

$1000-$1500 per active student: Its an easy amount to figure; the formula is solid and based on current cost-of-living factors. How do you land on a spot in the range of money? $1500 per (active) youth head is for major cities like NY or high-cost of living states like CA. The lowest end of the scale, $1000, it usually more rural and more often than not, in the southern states. I’ll give you and example: I recently did an youth ministry assessment for a church in Nashville and the government index showed that the per student figure was $1150. Big city yet less union costs and in the south.

What does this figure cover? Salaries/benefits and program expenses. Whose salaries? Anyone in your church whose job is fully or partially responsible for students in any way. So, if the choir director spend 25% of their time on a youth choir or handbells, then 25% of their salaries/expenses would be figured in the comparison. Easy example: if a youth ministry in my home town of Katy, TX has 19 students coming through the doors on a regular weekly-ish basis, then the amount of money a church should be spending on the outreach to those students settle around $19,000. This would cover any PT staffing hours and programming costs.

For more info, check out two things: 1) http://ministryarchitects.com and 2) Group Magazine’s 2012 Salary Survey.


Stephanie Caro

Stephanie Caro

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Stephanie Caro has been involved in ministry to youth and youth workers in the local church since…well, a long time – 30+ years. Her humorous, straightforward style keeps her busy presenting and coaching at conferences, training events, camps, mission trips, retreats, churches, etc. Her latest books are, “Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches” and “99 Thoughts for the Smaller Church Youth Worker,” published by Group/Simply Youth Ministry. Stephanie is a contributing author to several youth ministry resources in addition to her regular column “Smaller Church Youth Ministry” in Group Magazine. Stephanie is Senior Consultant for Mark DeVries’ Ministry Architects and the director for their Small Church Ministry Architects division. She and her hubby, Steve, live in Houston, TX. All 7 kids are grown and out – praise God!

5 responses to Numbers DO Matter in Small Church Uthmin – Part 3

  1. Hey Stephanie,

    I’ve been in full time youth ministry for 12 years and I have never been at a church with budget anywhere close to this number. I currently have about 40 students that come weekly-ish in a church of about 300, in rural MO, and my my budget is $200 a month. Yes i said month, and yes I said $200 (So to those of you who have complained about not having any $ in the budget – i hope you feel better about yourselves now!) I know, it’s a sad number, but you learn to deal with it. I am currently about $1000 in the the whole since September, but I think you can have a quality youth ministry and spend less money – a lot less money. I may not have all the bells and whistles that everyone else has, but I still have the truth of the Word of God. That’s what I go with. I’ve been here for 6 and 1/2 years and am content that God has me where He wants me.

  2. Stephanie, I’ve been following your 3 posts here and agree with you and are pretty close to tracking with you in all 3 areas. My question is at what point do these points break down? do you feel they carry over into a larger YM? We are larger #s wise but we are more of a sortof rural setting with a smaller church feel. As our numbers have increased we’ve tried to maintain the small youth group feel but have experienced some headaches with staffing, relationships, expectations, etc. but not so much financial (actually have decreased budget as group hit a certain mass). would love your thoughts on how this transitions into a youth group of 75.

  3. Christianprincess March 25, 2014 at 9:32 am

    We are a smaller church in a large city. We don’t have a budget anywhere near that and our whole staff is volunteer. Most of our funds come from donations and we are blessed if we tip the $1000 mark in total financial donations for the year. What are your suggestions for raising capital? I can honestly say, our larger church fund does not have too much room to supplement and we do the best we can with what we have.

    Thank you for loving students and families!

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