Biblical Finance 101: Budgeting Overview

Its remarkable how many phone calls I get from Christians needing financial counseling that don’t have the slightest clue about how to budget. Now, I’m not complaining, but rather pointing out the fact that simple financial solutions to simple financial problems are not finding their way into the homes of our church members.

From a church standpoint, I think the problem comes from a lack of discipleship and stewardship training. The pulpit is probably not the most effective way to relay financial principles unless one wants to see a decline in the membership rolls. I have always said that we need to incorporate this information in regular discipleship training programs. Who wins if we do this? Everyone!

For the next few months I will be discussing the budgeting process and its various applications. To start with, one needs to understand that everyone has some sort of budget. There are basically two types. The first, an informal budget, is applicable to every household. There is no regimented routine; nothing is documented; bills are paid when received; it’s the day to day activity of managing one’s money and going through the motions.

The second, a formal budget, is for those whose finances have gotten out of control. It is not, however, used as a means to restrict spending or to surrender the checkbook. Many times when I have done financial counseling, the persons involved came to my office with a preconceived idea that a major loss was about to occur. Since they waited until the last minute to seek professional help, there was a sense of anticipation and anxiety that they had to give up something. It almost reminds me of the same scenario as when people prepare themselves for surgery or an IRS audit. Nonetheless, budgeting is not a bad thing! It exists as a documented regimen for helping one get certain out of control expenses under control.

Gary Ellis, MBA, CFP
Association Stewardship Director