Something that is far too common in Youth Ministry is budget blowouts. As Youth Pastors we need to be financially responsible as we grow our Youth Ministries. There have been times we have heard about when youth ministry outreach events have run thousands of dollars into the red with the result potentially crippling the church. It’s important to remember that your Youth Ministry exists to build the Church, not the other way around. If we run our events into the red without the permission of our senior pastors we are putting un-needed financial pressure on the church. One of the greatest gifts we can give our senior pastor is to be financially responsible for the department that we run.
There will be times when it is acceptable to run an event into the red, but they are far and few between and this should always be discussed with your senior pastor.
One of the only times it is perhaps acceptable to run at a loss financially is when your Senior Pastor has willingly given you his covering prior to any money being spent or any promotion being put out. You never want to hold your Boss over a barrel by saying “We’ve already promoted that we are doing this are you ok if we lose money?”. Sometimes the Senior Pastor might be agreeable to exceeding the budget on an event, especially when the youth ministry is starting out, but it’s important to remember that even though we have been approved run at a loss, we should still strive to do our best to cover all of our expenditure.
In saying that, here is a template you can use to ensure the events you run will serve your ministry financially and adhere to a planned budget.
In order to successfully budget, the income and expense for a particular event are to be entered in, providing a projection on the financial outcome of the event based on the number of attendees. This provides an estimation of the financial outcome informing you if your event will break even or run at a loss.
If you can see your event is potentially going to run at a loss it is important to do one of two things. Firstly, adjust your expenses to match your income (this might mean removing things you want but don’t need). And secondly, invest in creative ways to increase your income for the event.