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How Growing Churches Handle Finances

When we think about the issues that matter most for church growth, we tend to focus on the importance of dynamic leadership, vibrant worship, and effective outreach

All of those issues are critical to a church’s ability to grow and reach its neighbors with the good news about Jesus.

But there’s another factor we rarely talk about. In fact, we can be downright squeamish when it comes up in conversations about church growth. 


We don’t like to tie finances to church growth because we’re afraid we’ll sound materialistic. We’re afraid we’ll be misunderstood.

But finances do impact how your church grows. Let’s be clear. Your church doesn’t need a swollen bank account to reach people. Plenty of churches grow in less than ideal financial situations.

Yet, if you look closely at growing churches, you’ll see a few characteristics that seem always to be there.  

Budgeting for Growth

Growing churches create and stick to realistic budgets. They have a firm understanding of the generosity of their congregants and they base their spending on the giving they expect to see in an annual period. 

Budgets also tell us a lot about a church’s priorities. Growing churches tend to prioritize spending related to outreach and community engagement. (In fact, declining churches tend to be just the opposite. They prioritize spending on their internal congregation.) Growing churches know that the future growth of their church isn’t currently sitting in their church pews on Sundays.

They also likely spend more money on discipleship and leadership development because they understand it’s not enough to draw new people into the church. They need an effective strategy for helping new people grow in their faith and become leaders in the church. 

Growing churches also tend to budget more per student for children and youth than they normally engage in a weekend. Why? They know how important it is to be ready for new families when they show up for a weekend service. 

Transparent Financial Reporting

In an era where people no longer trust institutions like they once did, transparency isn’t an option for growing churches. (Although it is about five years old now, one 2019 study showed that people give a whopping 53 percent more to nonprofits with transparent accounting practices.)  

The truth is, many of the people you’re wanting to reach in the coming years will investigate the financial practices of your church before they even attend your church, much less give. They believe if they don’t trust your financial practices they aren’t likely to trust what you tell them about spiritual matters.  

Fundraising and Stewardship Programs

Growing churches aren’t afraid to talk about stewardship. They regularly teach their congregations biblical truth about managing what God has given them for kingdom purposes. They don’t do this for selfish reasons; they realize that stewardship is an important part of becoming the person God made us all to to be. 

Growing churches have spent significant time developing a culture of generosity where their congregants see generosity as a natural response to what Jesus is doing in their lives. 

Stewardship and fundraising programs ensure your church has the resources you need to tackle the next stage of your growth. Growing churches understand that they’ll soon need additional room to accommodate more people. They also are better prepared to invest more funds in community outreach activities that engage their neighbors and help to grow the church. 

Investing in Technology & Your Online Presence

Technology can’t do ministry for you. It can’t feed the hungry. It won’t teach the Bible for you. It won’t pray with someone in need. But it can multiply your ministry efforts, enabling you and your team to reach and minister to more people. 

That’s why churches that expect to grow invest in technology—from a compelling website that communicates the church’s vision to potential guests to a church management system that helps you stay on top of important tasks like communications and financial management. Additional tools like live-streaming, online giving, and mobile apps can extend your reach even further. 

Invest in the right technologies, and you’ll double the impact of your team.

Financial Planning and Reserves

Growing churches know the future isn’t guaranteed. While they trust God for what tomorrow holds, they also know that the Bible speaks clearly about the wisdom of saving and being prepared for future uncertainties. (For example, read Proverbs 6:6-8. Your church can learn a lot from the ant described in those verses!)

Anyone who has been in church life for long knows events you have no control over can impact your church’s giving. Pandemics come without warning. Natural disasters will come in the blink of an eye. If you haven’t done long-term financial planning and invested in your reserves, your growth will stall. 

Although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, it’s a good idea to keep about 10 percent of your budget in reserves just in case. 

Building a Strong Financial Future

Church growth is about far more than numbers. It’s about building a thriving, sustainable faith community. Your church’s stewardship is an important part of that process. The steps outlined above can help you create the financial future that leads to the growth you want. 

Ready to take your church’s financial management to the next level? Download our FREE guide, Simplified Accounting: A Church Guide to Financial Clarity and Compliance, and discover how to simplify your accounting tasks and ensure financial stability.

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