Friday, September 03, 2010

Is This New for You?

These are strange times to be a pastor. That might not be either unique or profound, but I feel it nonetheless. What makes it strange is the constant pressure to adjust ministry to the economy and keep the budget always in mind. I don't recall ministry life in the past being this budget-centric as it is today. Budgets were formed, lived within, usually exceeded or made, and then re-formed for the next budget cycle with inflation and/or cost of living adjustments.
Not today. Giving fluctuates against expectations because of wild swings in the stock market, housing values, unemployment and a stagnant economy. What were thought to be conservative estimations about church income are regularly not met, requiring a continual return to the operating budget to find cost reductions. There are no bad-guys out there withholding funds or pinching pennies. It seems to be everywhere from large corporations to the self-employed. Everyone feels the squeeze.
I'd be interested to know if this is the case with other pastors out there, especially senior pastors. What are you finding that is helpful? What are some emerging best practices to keep yourself spiritually fresh and fiscally responsible? I'd love to see some forums devoted to this. What's out there?


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