In my work, I hear churches talk about wanting to get back on mission in the community. However, until a church puts actual dollars towards this goal, it is very unlikely it is ever going to happen.
As the groups who put the budget together sit down each year look at what the spending will be for the next year, the budget needs to include funding for any outreach that will take place.
When you budget two things are important, specifics and flexibility.
Spend some time praying, asking the Lord to give you a vision for the next year and gather others around you who will do the same thing. Particularly gather those who are either official or unofficial decision makers in the church. Ask them and others to begin praying.
Look into your community and ask what needs are there that the church can have a specific impact on.
Put funds aside in the written budget of the church to meet those needs. It may be that you see children who have no place to spend time after school, though your church may not be ready for an everyday after school program, perhaps you are ready to offer this ministry once or twice a week. Put money aside in the budget for supplies, and refreshments for this activity.
One important thing when doing a budget is to tie the budget to the vision. When you put the money aside, do not just put on the piece of paper, "Outreach cookies, crayons, punch for after school program." Rather, write a more specific vision, which hits at the heart of what you are trying to accomplish such as: "Next generation ministries, $1500 for supplies for an afterschool program to reach children in our neighborhood with the good news of Jesus and to be a ministry to the children and parents."
So much of the time church budgets simply look like balance sheets. That does not have to be the case. Tie a vision to your budget that says to your church "we are getting back out there."
People get excited about giving to vision much more then they get excited about keeping lights on, or keeping the building up. Though those things are necessary, people should always be drawn to the fact that those dollars are for doing ministry, not just for you to stay in existence.
Remember, God gives you dollars for what you are going to do. I can remember years when we would raise the church budget to do further ministry and as we did that, the income of the church would rise. If we had chosen not to do the ministry, to "save" money, I am convinced the money would have never come in. This is not a suggestion of being foolish and budgeting wildly, but it is saying that when you step out in faith and budget for certain things God many times will bless them greatly.
Go back and look at your church budget, do you have funds set aside to do outreach and ministry in the community?
What amount could you put down to do a specific ministry in your community?Remember, even if it is not a lot at this point, push for something that will make an impact.