When beginning a new cm leadership position – how to evaluate or establish a budget

Your Question:

“I am directing a CM that hasn’t had a CM director before me.  How do I establish a CM budget, and what do I do while I have no money?”

The Issues:

Having no money to spend and no CM budget can challenge your dreams for growth. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, ask God to show you what you do have.  You probably have connections for donations, and you probably have things not being used in storage closets. Being a good steward of what you have is what God may be requiring of you before He blesses you with more. While you’re waiting for God to bless you with more money, make sure to clearly communicate your vision to the senior pastor. Remind him that you can’t progress toward your vision without financial support.

Scripture Foundation:

“’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’”  Malachi 3:10

Short Answer:

Since you are now serving in a position that is new in the church, the church leadership is accustomed to the children’s ministry (CM) operating without any formal support from the church budget.  There might be a philosophical mindset among the church leadership that says, “Taking care of the children is just childcare. They have rooms, tables, and chairs. That should be enough.” 


Whether there is that philosophical view or not, it doesn’t change the fact that your first “job” is to establish a CM vision (if you haven’t already done so), 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.


Another healthy step for you to take is to research what the CM has cost in the past year or two.  Identify the costs for everything related to the ministry, and also identify the donations and personal investment given by the CM team.  You might be surprised at how much those who are serving in the CM are also giving out of their own pockets. The individual offerings that are being invested are not a “bad” thing, but it is important to prove to the church leadership that the CM is not really happening for “free.” 


Once you have done the research regarding what has been spent by the CM in the past year, itemize it all into a budget report to the senior pastor. This document will probably become a foundation for your eventual 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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