Basic Steps To Tackling Your Budget

You will never catch a youth minister thinking, “I can’t wait to tackle the budget!” In fact budgeting can be a youth minister’s worst nightmare.  But, it’s essential and impossible to ignore.

To tackle your budget means to master it.  To master your budget takes discipline and it also takes knowledge.  If you want to own your budget instead of it owning you:


All it takes is a simple excel spreadsheet.  Start by creating categories and then each month add up your receipts to see what you’ve spent.  Tracking your expenses answers the questions:

  • What’s important to my ministry?
  • What’s most expensive to fund?

This will be important information to bring when talking to leadership about next year’s budget.  Money people don’t want guessing, they want facts and the more you can bring to them the better.


One of the reasons I struggled maintaining a budget in youth ministry was because my personal budget wasn’t a priority.  It was not a priority because it intimidated me due to a lack of education.

There are plenty of resources out there to help you grow in your personal finances (i.e. Check out Dave Ramsey’s site HERE).  When you can improve your personal budget, it’ll be easier to work on your professional one.


Find out when the church starts reviewing and discussing the budget.  Keep a list of expenses you might need to make and want to make.  The goal is to have a plan before you are asked for one.

When your budget request is challenged you’ll be able to explain why you need what you need.  Even if you don’t get what you’ve requested you’ll be able to show leadership that you are responsible with what they will give you.


Balancing a budget can be overwhelming.  If the idea of keeping an excel spreadsheet stresses you out find someone else to take over.  There are people in your church who are comfortable (Even in love) with managing finances.

Develop a system where all you need to do is hand in receipts.  Have them hold you accountable to stay within the limits and keep track of where all the money is going.

Keeping a budget in youth ministry isn’t the most attractive aspect of the job, but it’s necessary.  A healthy ministry is one that manages it’s money wisely.  It’s a reflection of the stewardship that God has called you to embrace.

[reminder]  What budget advice would you offer a struggling youth minister? [/reminder]


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