When directing a cm that had a director before you – how to establish or improve the cm budget

Your Question:

“I am directing a CM that had a CM director before me. How do I establish or improve the CM budget?”

The Issues:

It is possible to direct an effective CM without a formal budget. God can do miracles without any money at all! But it is good to establish a strong budget for the sake of monitoring and justifying what is spent for the ministry. Both establishing a new CM budget or improving an existing CM budget are more effective when focused on the CM vision. Without this focus, the budget lacks a foundation.

Scripture Foundation:

“Be careful not to forget the LORD your God by failing to keep His commandments and ordinances and statutes, which I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses in which to dwell, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud, and you will forget the LORD your God…You might say in your heart, “The power and strength of my hands have made this wealth for me.” But remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you the power to gain wealth…”  Deuteronomy 8: 11-18

Short Answer:

Since you are following the previous CM director, you need to know as much about what has been spent for the CM in the past.  It would be good for you to meet with the financial supervisor for the church and ask him/her to show you the current CM budget (if there is one), or an overview of what the costs have been for the ministry. You will learn much from this investigation. If you are given a formal CM budget, that is very good. If there isn’t an established CM budget, and the finance supervisor simply gives you a list of expenditures, that is also valuable information. It tells you much about the past financial support for the ministry. If the finance supervisor gives you a “global” statement like, “We don’t specifically track each ministry in the church. Each ministry is given a certain amount of money to spend each year, and we trust that they will spend that money wisely,” you have a big challenge ahead of you!  

Your first “job” is to establish a CM vision (if you haven’t already done so, or if it doesn’t already exist), and then to make sure that you communicate that vision to the church leadership as well as to the current CM team.  God clarified the value of a vision when He said, “Without a vision, the people perish (or flounder)” in Proverbs 29:18. A clear vision supports your request for financial support. The more you communicate what God is doing, and what you believe could still be done, the more interested the church leadership will be in increasing your budget.

Once you understand what has been spent for the CM in the past, and you have verified, or created, a strong, clear CM vision, you are ready to do some deeper investigation into justifying the money that has been spent by the CM in the past. If there is a CM budget, this will be easier. If there isn’t a formal CM budget, this investigation will help you design one. Ask God to help you understand how well the money is being spent for each of the general categories of the ministry.  The general categories for the CM budget should be: Safety (policies, background checks, two-way radios, ID badges, team-wear, etc.), Curriculum, Team Development (recruiting, training, appreciation, etc.), Facility Use (utilities, maintenance, repair, artistic appearance, etc.), Programs (Sunday and non-Sunday events, holiday programs, summer programs, etc.), Communication (printing, emails, etc.), Parent Support (pamphlets, seminars, family events, etc.), and Supplies, and Furniture/Equipment (craft/lesson supplies, tables, chairs, audio/visual equipment, computers, etc.).

The question you must ask yourself and others is, “Are we spending the money God has given us wisely?”  Does the budget represent the CM vision? If someone saw the budget could they interpret the CM vision from the percentage of money that is being spent for each of the categories? From what you know about the curriculum, are you convinced it is the right curriculum for the CM? Are you spending too much or enough money on the curriculum? Is the money spent on CM team development being used well?  Should there be more money allocated for the CM team development? (The amount you spend on team development should be a significant portion of the budget).  Are the supplies being purchased adequate to support the CM team as they teach the lessons?  Do the CM team members have to pay for supplies out of their own pockets? Does the CM facility look attractive? Should you spend more money on the “image” of the CM as it is represented on the hallway walls or outside the CM facility?  

Once you have done the research regarding what has been spent by the CM in the past year or so, itemize it all into a budget report to the senior pastor. This document will probably become a foundation for a new CM budget proposal.  In your proposal, connect every penny proposed to a specific program or vision-based expenditure. If you believe there should be a new CM curriculum, propose a budgetary increase to reflect that cost.  If you believe there should be a CM team appreciation banquet, propose an increase in the budget to reflect the cost of appreciating the CM team. Build the CM budget slowly each year.  Don’t try to create a “Cadillac” budget the first year!  Prove that you are willing to get by in the first year on a “Vespa” budget. Make sure to submit detailed records of how you spent the money at the end of the month or year. For more help, click on the links below.

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