Most churches use the traditional calendar year—January 1 to December 31—for their budget years.
But not all churches do.
Some use a fiscal year—often July 1 to June 30—and those that do say it helps ease the administrative burdens that come in December and January. Year-end contributions and church and clergy tax reporting requirements already are on deck at that time of year, so adding in the finalization and approval of the next budget only overloads staffs, leaders, and members even more.
Yet the vast majority of churches use a traditional calendar budget year—71 percent, in fact, according to the "How Churches Spend Their Money ," a survey of more than 2,000 church leaders conducted in 2014 by Christianity Today's Church Law & Tax Group. Of the remaining 29 percent who use a fiscal year, they're more likely to be a larger church with a larger budget.
So is one way better than the other?
We asked several church leaders to give the pros and cons of their church's specific budget year. Several were interviewed during a freeflowing roundtable discussion in 2014 during the 10th annual XP-Seminar , a conference for executive pastors and senior pastors, while others provided input through the church administration discussion board on Yahoo.
Here is what they had to say:
David Fletcher, executive pastor, First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton (Fullerton, CA): We use a fiscal budget year. I'm in the minority on this one. I love it.