Blog/CYM Blog

Budgeting has the Word “Budge” in it

Have you ever noticed that the word budge is in budgeting? Budging — the one thing no one seems to know how to do when negotiating a ministry budget is the most important aspect of budgeting. It’s one thing to budge on a dollar amount, but to budge on the vision you’ve prayed through is something else entirely.

In most cases youth ministers fail to pray through a vision; never asking God where He wants the ministry directed in the coming year. We enter budgeting discussions and negotiations with no concept of the ministry events, programs, leadership development or even fundraising needed. We just accept what we’ve been given previous years.

Let me see if I can convince you to address budgeting in a new way and think about a few things before just writing numbers into a spreadsheet. I would like you to approach budgeting as a united step to calendaring your year and advocating for your ministry.

Step 1: Evaluate

Every year you should take time to evaluate your ministry. Ask yourself questions like:

Did you achieve last year’s goals or accomplish the vision you set for the ministry?

How many Core Members do you have and how strong is the Core Team in regard to relational ministry, Life and Edge Nights, and their relationship with God?

Is the Youth Liturgy leading the congregation into fully conscious and active participation?

No ministry gets stronger without recognizing the branches that need to be trimmed and the branches that are blossoming. So, take time to evaluate before you start visioning for the year ahead. If you are looking for a strong evaluation tool, we have a few for you:

Step 2: Youth Ministry Vision

First, take notice that I’m not talking about your Youth Ministry Mission Statement; that will not budge if you’ve discerned it prayerfully. I’m talking about your vision; where God is calling you to direct the ministry in the year ahead. Still not sure what I’m talking about? Check out the Creating a Youth Ministry Vision video.

Once you have created the vision, you are ready to share it and move on to Step two. Remember, don’t limit God; trust His vision will be accomplished through your obedience.

Step 3: Calendaring

Budgeting and Calendaring go hand in hand. Without a laid-out calendar, you cannot provide a realistic budget. This is why step three is calendaring your ministry year. Some things you might want to consider are:

  • When you will meet for Life and Edge Nights or Confirmation if you are responsible for sacramental preparation
  • Retreat meetings and retreat dates
  • Confirmation sessions
  • Core or catechist training (Empower, Core training), possibly even a Core retreat
  • Ongoing formation for you (perhaps CYMC)
  • Relational ministry and outreach opportunities
  • Youth conferences (Steubenville, LTLC), diocesan youth rallies, or mission trips dates

If you have never calendared before, you should check out the Annual Calendaring video to get a strong sense of how and what to schedule.

Step 4: Budgeting

Now that you have an annual calendar, it is easy to figure out where to allocate money to your budget. If you have never budgeted before, we have created a training video on Budgeting Your Ministry as well as a Budget Worksheet (see attached to link to the excel spreadsheet) to help you with this process. You can always call a Life Teen Parish Coach if you have questions. We are happy to assist you.

Step 5: Time to Budge

This final step is where the word budge comes to play in the budgeting process. Once you completed the steps above, you are ready to meet with your pastor or pastoral administrator to present your proposed calendar and budget.

Start by asking your pastor if there is anything he would like to see for the teens or any concerns he has about the ministry. Then, share with them where the teens are at currently and any glory stories from the year. Be resolute in presenting your vision and how you see the Core Team and you leading the teens in the year ahead. Be prepared to adjust your calendar for various reasons, but stay true to your mission statement and the vision you have prayed about for the ministry.

If the budget is not available to match your calendar, ask if you can fundraise, increase registration fees, or seek support from parishioners. No matter what, you will need to be flexible when advocating for what you believe the teens need.

Remember, we are here to help you! If you are confused or frustrated in any way with the budgeting process, contact a member of the Parish Support Team. We would love to help you and pray alongside you.

About the Author

Tricia Tembreull

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-size heart for hospitality. She said yes over twenty years ago to God’s call to youth ministry and never could’ve imagined the adventures and people He had planned for her to encounter along the way. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, you can find Tricia in a church, spending time with family and friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk.

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