Every February my church leadership team begins the process of planning the next year’s budget. It's always a stressful time, but this year we realized we were seven percent behind on offering. I had little time to prepare mentally or spiritually for the meeting and simply presented the year-to-date spreadsheet. I included a good 15 minutes for prayer in our meeting agenda, but the “How did we get here? Is it because Christmas fell on a Sunday this year? Is it because that one family left? Or because that other family lost their job?” conversation continued right through our prayer time. We left with more questions than when we began.
I went home deflated and overwhelmed. Not only did I feel inadequate to lead the church—I felt incompetent to lead this budget meeting. As a pastor, I’ve always preferred to focus on relationships, prayer, and deep reflection than spreadsheets, five-year plans, and action items. How are we supposed to figure out how to lead ...1