Church Budget Template

Written by Valerie Riese

2nd March 2023

Between rising inflation and decreasing church attendance, it’s more important than ever to put careful thought into the creation and enforcement of a church budget. In this post, we’ll provide you a church budget template, practical advice and resources from the nation’s most trusted church budget experts, and our best tip to save money while reaching thousands more people for Christ.

Determine Your Goals and Priorities

There are a lot of moving parts to a church budget, so it is hard to determine which programs and expenses make the cut. We recommend taking a step back to revisit the church mission and vision long before any calculations. Define the top 3-5 priorities by the needs of the community and the congregation alongside your mission, resources, and available church discounts. Instruct church staff to review the list throughout the year and to use it as a filter to determine which expenses are most relevant for the goals of the church.

Allocate by Percentage

After defining the goals and priorities, make a categorical list of the expenses for the church, such as staff compensation, outreach and marketing, building expenses, missions, education. Then, allocate a certain portion of the overall budget to each category.

For example, according to Vanderbloemen, the average healthy church spends about 50% of their budget on staff compensation, including things like health care, retirement, and housing. A church budget breakdown might look something like this.

  •  50% to compensation
  •  15% to building expenses (i.e., mortgage, maintenance, custodial, etc.)
  •  15% to missions and ministries
  •  10% to education
  • 2.5% to outreach and marketing
  • 2.5% to music and worship
  •   5% to savings

Determine your Estimated Revenue

Of course, you also have to determine the projected revenue for the church, which is especially tricky. We trust and rely on the Lord to take care of our day-to-day needs, but we still need a plan to steward our resources wisely. We won’t get into details about how to determine church income here, but the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) offers thoughtful, thorough, up-to-date resources, including their 10 Essentials of Church Budgeting e-book, available for free download in partnership with Open Network.

ECFA’s 10 Essentials of Church Budgeting

  1. Evaluate your church’s stewardship culture.
  2. Determine your optimal year-end.
  3. Establish a strategic plan.
  4. Lay the budgeting ground rules.
  5. Calculate your “Big Number.”
  6. Consider the key drivers of projected revenue.
  7. Recognize which expenses are subject to budget allocation.
  8. Factor in the need for reserves.
  9. Plan for significant projects.
  10. Devise a plan for budget administration.

Set the Budget

When you have an estimate of the projected revenue for the church, what the ECFA calls the “Big Number,” then you can begin setting limits for each category. You may divide the Big Number by twelve and then adjust for slower and busier months of the year, with the biggest expenses occurring just before Christmas. The Church Extension Plan has a free calculator to help you.

Free Church Budget Template

We are not financial planners or tax accountants, but we are here to provide resources to help you, including a free church budget template. Complete the form below to access our Google Sheet and save a copy.

Calculating a church budget is a big job. At Click Nonprofit, we can help relieve a significant portion of your marketing budget with the Google Ad Grant. The Google Ad Grant provides $10,000 in free advertising dollars every month. The grant money is used to run ads on Google, so the content and events published by your church will rank on page one. That means thousands more people will find your church and grow closer to Jesus (and bring in additional revenue). We are dedicated to helping you spread the Gospel, so we can acquire the grant for you at no charge.

Contact us for a free consultation call to determine whether you are eligible for the Google Ad Grant.

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