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Tight Money Strategies

Six ways to balance when the budget goes red.

Our financial secretary called. "Pastor, we have more bills this month than money to pay them. What do I do?"

I was young and ambitious. I had pressed the board of our small church for an aggressive ministry budget. I hadn't expected an economic downturn to thwart my one-year plan to single-handedly fulfill the Great Commission. Then I remembered the advice a board member gave me on the night I proposed our budget.

"You know, Pastor," he said, "my father always taught me that if your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall."

It's been almost 20 years, but my hands still shake when I remember picking up the phone, calling the board, and telling them that we were running in the red.

Seldom do pastors have to worry about what to do with extra resources lying around the church. The problem is more month at the end of the money than money at the end of the month.

After pastoring several years and then becoming a church's chief financial officer, I've found six ways to overcome ...

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