Budget or Vision: Which One Pulls Your Train?

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By on October 1, 2005   /   Leave a comment

Even though my existence on this planet has been relatively brief, still I have observed that many organizations seem to budget in one of two ways:

1. The Typical Way
The staff of many church and para church groups will show up to the annual planning meeting with this in mind: “Well, last year I was allotted this much for my ministry budget. If I jack it up about 10% and complain about all the shortages, maybe I’ll walk away with at least a 5% increase.” Their vision and thinking is limited by how much money they think might come in that year: “Let’s see, last year $746,000 came in. The economy is kind of down this year. Hey, if we received the same amount this year, how much ministry do you think we could accomplish?”

2. The Bill Bright Way
I dare not put anyone on a pedestal. I just have a tremendous amount of respect for this man, the deceased founder of Campus Crusade. My understanding is that he would gather his ministry directors from around the world for a planning session every year. Each director laid out to the others what he or she believed God wanted to do through their particular ministry the next 12 months. No one was allowed to even mention how much different programs might cost until after they had prayed, discussed, and finally all agreed on what the overall Crusade ministry plan would be for the upcoming year. Then, and only then, did they start attaching price tags to everything. Afterwards, Dr. Bright would draw a line under the total and say something like, “Here is what we believe God wants to do throughout the world this next year. The total is 346 million dollars. Now let’s trust Him to go out and raise those funds to fulfill this vision.”

Do you see the difference? Budget pulls one train. Vision the other. One way is focused on what things cost, the other on how to fulfill the mission. Sometimes a person will ask me how much a certain project or equipment or materials or training costs, and I’ll shoot back, “It doesn’t matter…because we’re going to spend whatever it takes to fulfill God’s calling for our ministry.” We are in an invisible, worldwide spiritual battle over the eternal destiny of billions of souls, and thus:

Strategicness always trumps thriftiness.

John R. Mott, Cornell college student in the 1880’s who went on to ignite the Student Volunteer Movement and later win the 1946 Nobel Peace Prize as one of the greatest missionary statesman of all time, said: “Without a doubt, there comes to many of us the choice between a life of contraction or one of expansion; a life of small dimensions or one of widening horizons, larger visions and plans.”

Budget or Vision: Which one pulls your train?

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