Want to make sure you’re financially ready for a collaborative youth event? Here are some ideas:

Communicate Well
There’s nothing that’ll get a collaborative team into a heated battle quicker than finances, and those in youth ministry don’t always have the best reputation in this area. This is why when considering a large undertaking such as a multi-church event, it is so important to communicate well with the people who handle the money. Give them specifics about what’s happening, how much the income and expenses will be, and make sure you give them a heads up about any change that’s coming. Financial people need active communication.

One Financial Hub
Most youth ministry networks aren’t large enough to have their own bank accounts, so doing a multi-church retreat means that one of the churches involved becomes the financial hub. That church writes the checks to the campground, speakers, band, etc. It is also where all the attending churches send their registration checks (made out to that church). This puts a financial and administrative burden on the hub church. So, it’s important to have a conversation about expectations, and the leadership needs to reimburse the hub as quickly as possible.

Have Advance Conversations
Cash flow can become a big issue. Make sure you have a conversation with whoever does the books at your church before jumping into this. Come up with a realistic budget and timeline so he or she can review to get the scope of the undertaking. Include when you expect income and expenses.

Budget for a Surplus
You’re not trying to make money on the event, but you would be very wise to overestimate expenses and create a safe financial margin. The larger the event becomes, the more important it is to grow a nest egg for it.

Be Transparent
Money makes people nervous. Youth workers with money make some people very nervous. The way through that is to keep the books open. Invite others to review your expenses, including your church bookkeeper and those of the churches involved. Transparency communicates honesty, as well as helps you evaluate each finger rocket you buy and every inflatable you rent. Knowing that someone will be asking the hard questions makes thinking critically about how much we spend second nature.

Leave a Reply

About The Author

Jonathan is the director of youth ministries at the Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, Pennsylvania. He has worked in professional youth ministry for more than 16 years, including churches in New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He has spoken and/or led worship for multiple camps, retreats and events around the country. He took karate in high school because he thought it would help make him cool. He was wrong. Jonathan and his wife, Carolyn, have two beautiful daughters, Kaylin and Julia. He loves golf, can juggle two balls skillfully, and does a halfway decent impression of Kermit the Frog. He's also a big fan of the Oxford comma. Follow him on Twitter @jonhobbstweets.

Recommended Articles