Church Budget Calendars • Personnel Costs • Timing Agenda Topics: Management Roundup
Trends, tips, ideas, and stats to help church leaders manage well this week.
Church Budget Calendars • Personnel Costs • Timing Agenda Topics: Management Roundup

1. Is a fiscal budget year worthwhile for churches? "Churches with fiscal years that start and end in the summer months typically hammer out their annual budgets early in the calendar year anyway, so a disappointing December 'can be baked into the subsequent year budget with more time to make the adjustments,' says Dan Busby, president of ECFA. The opposite is true as well; a particularly strong December, which exceeds projections, can lead to accommodation of increased funds if a church is on a fiscal year rather than a calendar one" ("Finding the Best Approach to a Budget Calendar," by Menachem Wecker, Church Finance Today).

2. Sometimes "anything" can lead to progress. "Times occasionally emerge that call for willingness to try an idea that's 'out there.' Especially when the notion did not originate with the leader—or if the team appears stuck and just needs to move, even a little. Personal equity builds quickly through a well-earned reputation of openness to consider a new idea regardless of the source" ("4 'Things' Available to Every Leader," by David Staal, LeadershipJournal.net).

3. How much do churches spend on personnel? "Half of large churches spend 39 percent to 52 percent of their total budget on staffing costs. Specifically, the median is 46 percent for churches with attendances from 60,000 down to 1,000—though that number varies a bit by church size" ("10 Important Salary Benchmarks You Might Not Know About," by Warren Bird, LeadNet.org). Learn more about how churches budget their money in How Churches Spend Their Money, a downloadable report based on Christianity Today's Church Law & Tax survey of more than 2,000 US churches. For more help with church compensation, also check out the 2016-2017 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff.

4. For meeting agendas, allot time estimates. "Estimate a realistic time amount for each (meeting agenda) topic. This serves two purposes. First, it requires you to do the math—to calculate how much time the team will need for introducing the topic, answering questions, resolving different points of view, generating potential solutions, and agreeing on the action items that follow from discussion and decisions. Leaders typically underestimate the amount of time needed. … Second, the estimated time enables team members to either adapt their comments to fit within the allotted timeframe or to suggest that more time may be needed" ("How to Design an Effective Agenda for a Meeting," by Roger Schwarz, hbr.org).

5. Say it "together." "The word 'together' is all about relatedness, belonging, and interconnectivity. … So it's not too surprising that using this word can help teams become more efficient. A Stanford (University) study had participants work on difficult puzzles on their own, although one group was told they would be working on their task 'together' and could receive a tip from a team member. The results for the participants who heard 'together' were astounding. They worked 48 percent longer, solved more problems correctly, had better recall for what they had seen, said that they felt less tired and depleted by the task, and reported finding the puzzle more interesting" ("10 Words Smart People Always Use (and 7 They Never Do)" by Jeff Haden, Inc.com).

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