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Church Finances and Inflation

MoneyWise

Christian talk radio with Rob West

July 20, 2022

As if the pandemic wasn’t enough, inflation is now having an impact on church budgets. What should the Body of Christ do about it? We’ll talk about what can be done today on MoneyWise. An article by the Gospel Coalition puts into perspective the impact inflation is having not just on church members but also on church staff. Using an example of a person taking a job in 2015 at a salary of $50, 000 we can see the effect inflation is having today. That $50, 000 salary is now really worth just over $42, 000. That’s a decline in purchasing power of nearly 16%. To keep pace with inflation, that individual would now need to earn almost $58, 000. According to the latest government figures, inflation is running at about 8. 5-percent, the highest in 40 years. That’s based on Consumer Price Index figures for the cost of around 200 items. But inflation doesn’t affect all goods and services equally. Fuel, food, housing, and transportation are all running higher than that 8. 5% inflation rate. And all of this is putting the squeeze on church budgets. We can't stress enough how important it is for you to not make giving your last priority. We all need to continue honoring God with our first fruits. And that means we’ll probably have to cut back in other areas of the household budget. Now, what can churches do to keep pace with inflation? An article by Church Executive magazine lists a number of ways churches can cope. DON’T PANIC: The first is not to panic, and instead, focus on the things that will have an impact. These include trimming the budget, possibly scaling back projects and keeping more cash on hand. You can’t control inflation, so concentrate on what you can control. WANTS VS NEEDS: Next, make a decision on wants versus needs. Remember that God promises only to provide for our needs, not our wants. Philippians 4: 19 reads, And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Can you delay certain projects until the economic situation improves? BORROWING: The next suggestion is one that we would take with a huge grain of salt. In fact, we’d recommend it only if absolutely necessary, and that’s borrowing more money. If funds are running dry for a construction project that’s already underway, and the building needs a roof to protect materials already in place, that might be a reason to borrow more. But if it’s just to finish a project that could be delayed, we don’t recommend it. DON’T OVERPAY: Next, and still related to building projects, don’t overpay for materials. It’s tempting to shift resources from other areas of the budget to finish a project, or again, even to borrow more. The cost of materials was already starting to moderate some before inflation hit. If you can wait a few months before making a purchase, it could save you some money. COMMUNICATE: The next way for churches to manage inflation is to communicate clearly with members. Whether it’s related to the operating budget or a building project, let the members know how inflation is having an impact. If you made a commitment to delay or scrap a project if a fundraising goal isn’t met, honor that commitment. TAKE THE LONG VIEW: Next, take the long view of any planned church projects. You may look back someday on a project that was abandoned and realize it wasn't as necessary as you once thought. In fact, a lack of funding may be God’s way of telling you to put your priorities somewhere else. And that leads us to the last and most important way to manage inflation in the church and that’s to invite God into every decision you make. He will reveal His will and lead you in the right direction. James 1: 5 tells us, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. And Proverbs 2: 6 teaches, For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. So those are some ways churches can cope with inflation. We hope you find them useful. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● How do you go about paying cash for a vehicle? ● Where can you put savings to earn a small return? ● How does delaying Social Security affect monthly benefits?

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