Our Programs Are Too Expensive

Your Question:

“The curriculum and supplies we need are expensive.  How can we make our CM programs less expensive?”

The Issues:

Effective programs don’t necessarily cost more money, but they do involve more planning, training, and effective interactions between passionate CM team members and the children. Paying for “off the shelf” or “launch and go” programs is not necessarily a bad thing IF you put more effort into making the program spiritually and relationally effective.

Scripture Foundation:

“…But he answered, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?’ ‘How many loaves do you have?’ He asked. ‘Go and see.’ When they found out, they said, ‘Five—and two fish.’ Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So, they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.”  Mark 6: 37-44

Short Answer:

As you “wrestle” with the high cost of running a program, you must consider your CM vision and the foundational purpose for the program.  If the purpose for the program is to simply “occupy the children,” then buying the supplies you need to occupy them is worth it.  If, on the other hand, your program’s purpose goes beyond simply occupying the children, then you need to invest wisely into the program in order to accomplish your purpose.  It is possible to reduce the cost of a program while also increasing its effectiveness; but this goal will take prayerful work.  Remember, you are serving the God of Creation who is able to “feed” the children without spending a cent! For the sake of this “short answer,” let’s assume your program is costing $100, but you would only like to spend $50 on the program.  As with any purely budgetary challenge, you would consider what you’re “getting” for the amount you’re spending.  This is where your CM vision comes in.  Why are you offering this program?  What do you want to accomplish?  Once you evaluate your program in light of the CM vision, your perspective may change.  Ideally, every CM program furthers or fulfills the CM vision.  Your CM vision is probably about leading children to the Lord and discipling them.  This is what the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28: 19, 20) is all about.  Realistically, you can fulfill the “Great Commission” or your CM vision without spending a cent!  Both of these foundational goals rely on mentorship, discussions, interactions and relationships.  So, your CM programs are simply “arenas” in which godly CM team members influence children for Jesus.  If you evaluate your programs based on that perspective, you can begin to slowly determine how much to spend on the programs.  You don’t “need” to spend large amounts of money on curriculum. You could “design” your own curriculum for free.  You could simply create a process that takes children through experiences and connects them to the scripture in set sections of time.  As you design your program “from scratch,” ask yourself, “How much am I willing to spend?” Maybe you can find a curriculum that gives you the foundation you need. Are you willing to spend that money for that foundational plan?  If not, can you create an “outline” of what you want to accomplish in the program and train your CM team to “make it happen”? How much will that training cost you?  Will you provide a meal, snacks, drinks, etc. during the training?  What about the supplies for the program?  Can you make a list of supplies you need and invite the rest of the church to donate them?  There are “pros” and “cons” to this plan.  You might find that people gladly donate the supplies you need, but you also have to let them know of those needs.  Can you make announcements during the adult service?  What happens if you don’t get the supplies you feel you need? Will you know that in advance to permit you to buy the supplies?  There are definitely ways to reduce the cost of programs, but you must be willing to work at it. Click on the links below to discover more ideas.

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