Q&A: How Can We Fund a New Ministry Idea?

Set aside ‘R&D’ money to respond when the Spirit leads.

What are some ways our church can fund innovative ideas, even when the current budget doesn’t account for it?
The best ideas for new ministry often come in the middle of a budget year. A new outreach ministry idea, for example, suddenly energizes lay leaders, who approach the staff for funding. But in the middle of the year, how can you respond? One option is to say “It’s not in the budget, wait until next year.” But that may throw a “wet blanket” on the energy leaders have for a new ministry, or allow the budget calendar to block the moving of the Holy Spirit.
Here’s another way to respond: develop a ministry research and development (R&D) fund. Funds either are set aside in the annual budget as a line item, or through a separate fund established with funds that carry over from year to year.
Your church might use a ministry R&D fund for the following:
  • Purchasing equipment needed to start a ministry.
  • Sending leaders to training. Piloting a new ministry idea.
  • Assessing needs in your community.
  • Hiring a consultant to help design a ministry.
Joy Skjegstad serves as a trainer and consultant to nonprofits and churches.

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