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What are some effective ways to navigate heated discussions about the way the church budget gets allocated?

Gary D. Fenton is senior pastor of Dawson Memorial Baptist in Birmingham, Alabama.

Participants in the church budgeting process should be passionate about the church's ministries, and no one should be surprised when these participants express their views with passion. Far too often, budget ministry teams approach meetings as if the goal is to divide the money in a way that leaves the team members happy. Unity about the mission and the ministries of the church is far more important than making everyone happy.

Each year at the start of the budgeting process, either myself or a representative of our ministry staff reminds the participants that the budget is about determining and empowering priorities, not about the validity of any particular ministry.

Also, we occasionally ask all the ministry and staff leaders to share in three minutes or less what their vision is for their specific ministry. This can help the decision-makers see where we are going, rather than just discussing how much we spent last year and why.

If people are not passionate about the ministries of the church, ...

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