Like anything else in life, there are costs to doing ministry. People costs, time costs and good, old-fashioned financial costs. I’ve talked before about my feeling that “you get what you pay for” is a far superior rule to live by than “cheaper is better.” Costs – including the costs of worship services – are part of the reality of making things happen.

Oftentimes church leaders these days come out of the business world, rather than seminary (that was true of me, to a certain extent). There are some real benefits. A church is an organization, and has structures (including financial structures) that need to function well for it to be effective. You don’t usually learn budgeting and organizational leadership skills in seminary.

However, the desire to reduce costs to “maximize profits” is sometimes so ingrained in these leaders that they can’t help thinking or functioning in this way. They are relentless about cutting costs, so that they can do…something?

Ask yourself if this makes sense:

  1. “We need to cut costs.” Budgets are slashed, reducing ministry effectiveness.
  2. “We’ve saved money.” To do…?
  3. “Now we have more money to increase ministry effectiveness!” Which leads back to #1 in an endless circle – except for the wear and tear on the ministries (and the people) involved…

The goal of a church is not to turn a short-term profit. The goal is to impact people’s lives. Steward cash well, but remember, money is a tool to get you where you want to go – not an end in itself. More on costs tomorrow…

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