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Tag Archives | money

POLL: Christmas Bonus Time?

I’ll be honest, I don’t get a Christmas bonus! In the distant past I would get a small check from a love offering at my first church during pastor appreciation month. I got an email from a youth worker who was frustrated this week because his bonus was cut in the downturn economy and it was one of the few perks this time of year. Made me think … and wonder … do YOU get a Christmas bonus? If so, how much? If not, you’re in good company! Hahahha


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POLL: When Does Your Church Fiscal Year End?

Was talking this week to a friend who’s youth group budget (he’s fortunate enough to even have one!) is about to run out Dec 31st. The church where I serve now uses a June 30th fiscal year ending, and did some research into when most church’s fiscal year ends. Thought I should also throw it out there and see when yours ends, and if there’s an advantage either way. Vote now!


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What to Do When Your Youth Ministry Budget Gets Cut

I’ve posted in the past about ways to get your youth ministry budget increased, and today thought I would pull from my journal about responding to a budget cut. The only thing more difficult than not having a youth ministry budget in the first place is watching what you have get taken away. Finances seems to be a persistent challenge for churches, and there comes a time in the life of many youth workers when you lose some. Maybe the church has fallen on hard times, giving is down or perhaps new initiatives from the leadership is moving money elsewhere. So what do you do when your youth ministry budget gets cut?

 Don’t panic or become poisonous
Often times youth leaders react negatively to a change in their budget and immediately share their feelings with volunteers. Talking this over with a spouse or mentor is one thing, but you need to be on board with the decision to synch up the belt, even when it hurts.

Cut programs/events
Usually we try to make things work with less, and quite honestly I don’t think that is the best approach. If you can operate without a little cushion or you’ve got room to keep things the same, great. But often times a wise move we try everything to avoid is cutting a program. Pray, seek counsel and then make the tough decisions.

Communicate the cuts to the leadership
Youth workers often communicate to me at training events or conferences all that they don’t communicate to their senior pastor or deacon board. I love that they can “get things off their chest” and use me as a sounding board, but sharing your decisions will help them understand their financial decisions and be supportive of the calls you made. This has to be done right, or it sounds like wining or passive aggressive!

Be faithful in the new season
Whatever the condition of your budget – serve with reckless abandon. Knowing the churches aversion to big spending and attention to cutting costs in the church, be sensitive and aware while balancing your vision and preparation for growth. Easier said that done … but totally possible!

Be ready to ask again when the time is right
When is the right time? Good question – and maybe one for another time. But watch for signs of things turning around or ways you can creatively finance or fundraise the youth ministry in the future.

Ever had your youth ministry budget cut? Hang in there!


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POLL: How much out of pocket do you spend on students each month?

Was just at lunch yesterday with a student and spent $18 of my own money and it triggered the poll question of the week! What does the average youth worker spends out of pocket on their students each month for relational ministry. I realize some have budgets, some don’t – but all of us give financially in some way for sure, too. Vote now!


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How to Get Your Church Leadership to Increase the Youth Ministry Budget

Want to get more money in your youth ministry budget? Want to get a budget at all? To be honest, there is no simple, clear sure-fire way to get your deacon board to cough up cash to fund your next overnight. In fact, budgets are a fickle beast often times driven by political interests and tradition. But not all hope is lost! Here are a few ways to get your church leadership to help fund youth ministry at your church:

Show the leadership a plan
There’s a direct connection between planning and funding. If you’ve ever been denied funds, it is a strong possibility that there wasn’t enough of a plan there to warrant the green light. Perhaps a less important ministry (all of them except youth ministry hahahaha) showed up with a plan that got some attention and some funds. The next time there is money on the table, put a plan on it, too!

Be happy with whatever you get
Often times when I hear youth workers talk about money it is often followed by murmuring and grumbling. Shoot … I think I did the same thing myself when our fiscal year turned over, too! But a quick way to cut off funds is to be unhappy with what you’ve been given.

Be faithful in the small to demonstrate you’re ready for more
In Luke Jesus challeneged us to be faithful with whatever we have been given as a test to be given more. Are you being faithful with the budget you’ve been given? Are you a good steward of the tithe money of your church? A great way to get more is to have lots of show for what little you started with!


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3 Ways to Stretch Your Youth Ministry Budget

Do you have a youth ministry budget? Be thankful for what you’ve got – but also be a good steward of it. Inexperienced and optimistic youth workers often make some key mistakes and waste the church’s money and the precious resources dedicated to the youth ministry. Here’s are some ways to make sure you make every dollar count:

Order it in advance!
Chances are if you’re buying something at the last minute, you are going to pay a premium price. Avoid those costly fees, rush charges and sticker shock by taking some time to prepare well for your event.

Always “guesstimate” low
There’s a certain science that goes into youth ministry formulas – here’s one rule of thumb that will pay you back almost every time: most often a camp or hotel will be thrilled to take on some extra people, and will be strict to meet your contracted minimums. Which means you should guesstimate low and call them the day before to add a few more heads. Call them a few days before with a few short and expect to pay a penalty or get stuck with a bill at the end of the week.

Beg, borrow and steal
A great way to stretch your dollars is to not spend any at all! When you plan your next event ask for some space in the church bulletin to list out a few items someone may have. Maybe start a Facebook group that you ping whenever you need coolers or an EZ-up. Chances are what you need is already owned by someone in your church! The key is making the connection to it!

What other ways do you work to keep youth ministry costs low?


PS: One way to stretch your youth ministry budget is by picking up a DYM Membership, too!

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POLL: Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck

Interesting report out today showing that the vast majority of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and it made me wonder the same thing about youth workers.


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"If only…"

It feels like I’ve had several “if only” conversations lately. “If only” is a phrase used in the never-ending search for “IT.” If only I… [fill-in the blank]
…had that job.
…held that title.
…lived in that neighborhood.
…made that amount.
…went there for vacation.

My earliest recollection of “if only” and the never-ending quest for IT goes back to when I was a little kid and I had a Huffy bicycle. All the kids on my street owned a Schwinn. I had a Huffy—Kmart’s brand. You couldn’t be cool with a Huffy. But, that was my life. No expensive brands for me. My friends had the Spalding indoor/outdoor leather basketball and I had one my parents bought from a grocery store–that looked like a brown painted volleyball. My buddies wore Levis and I wore Sears’ brand—Husky pants. I was that kid–Husky’s on a Huffy. All the discount brands started with “H” for “humiliation.”

So I saved my money and, with a little help from my parents, I finally got a Candy Apple Red Schwinn 3 speed—very fancy. I rode that thing around like I was the CEO of Schwinn and they gave me the very best one ever made. No baseball cards in the spokes for me—not a chance—that was so childish. But, it wasn’t long before I determined that my life would be a little better if I had a 10-speed.

I wish that was my first and last visit with “if only” thinking… unfortunately that’s not reality.

Question: how do you help coach people to get past this limited thinking. What’s your advice? Share it here.

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GUEST POST: It’s not about the money, but it sure helps

In the many years I’ve worked as a volunteer in youth ministry, I was approached by both teenagers and adult leaders looking for financial support. Correspondingly, I was always shocked at the methods (or lack thereof) in the approaches they used.

I’m a professional money manager. I am managing millions of dollars in various portfolios for clients all over the country. It is stressful, it is rewarding, and it is also my calling. I love what I do! I have had to conduct “fundraising” efforts throughout my career to bring in more assets (fancy way of saying ‘money’) to manage. I am definitely not a “salesman” and I easily get my feelings hurt with rejection. Sound familiar?

Would you rather be a salesman or would you rather just talk to a friend? Personally, I’d rather just talk to a friend. That’s really what it all boils down to… talking to your friends, or at least, talking to people as though they’re good friends.

In today’s technology-filled world, you can talk to your friends in several ways. In my practice, I use e-mail, newsletters, thank you cards, phone calls, text messaging, snail mail, etc.. When I reach out to my clients, I don’t ever ask for their money. But, my clients send me their money to manage. So, how is this done? I’ve learned to talk to people like they’re friends and doing what Christians should do: care as Jesus would care!

Here are 5 simple rules to follow whenever you talk to people who may be able to provide you with financial support:

1. Talk to them like a friend by showing them you care. I know you care about people—that’s one of the main reasons you went into ministry. Be sincere. Be genuine. Call them on their birthdays. Take an interest in their lives and their family. Simply put, show them God’s love.

2. Tell them about what you’re doing in your career/ministry. Do not ask them for money. That’s right…do NOT ask them. People (for the most part) are intelligent. They know you need financial assistance. Tell them about how you’re trying to go to Africa, or whatever it is you want to do. Use the word “trying.” Tell them that you need their “prayers and other forms of support.” Leave it at that.

3. Ask them for their address so you can keep them updated. This is SO important so you can send them a newsletter! At least once every 4-8 weeks, hand-address an envelope in your own handwriting with a nicely written update (mass produced newsletter is okay) on what you’re doing in your ministry. They will enjoy reading it and you will politely be keeping your name in front of them. This is where you tell them about your financial goals.

4. Tell them about how you’re winning in the fight for Jesus. Everyone wants to be on a winning team. Use your newsletter to share your accomplishments and your goals for the rest of the year. They will want to join your team.

5. Follow-Up! If someone expresses the slightest interest in assisting you financially, call them! Don’t text them (too impersonal). Call your “friend” and see if the interest is sincere. If so, follow up! Collect phone numbers, addresses, and begin building a list. Don’t ever say, “If you want to know what I’m doing, just visit my web page or see my Facebook.” That is VERY impersonal, and besides, you’re violating rule #1 (see above)! Don’t drop the ball here. This step is critical. Put your follow up date on your calendar. Write it down. Make sure you follow up, and don’t miss.

There are a few other things you could do, but most of them revolve around the above 5 steps. Show people you care. Send them a “thank you” when they do support you or even better call them. Make it as personal and sincere as possible. If you simply treat others the way you would want to be treated, the financial support will come. Just be consistent.

Oh, and if you know of someone who needs a great financial professional to assist them with their retirement, please send me their e-mail address. I promise you, I’ll follow up!

Question: What questions do you have about your money?

Rob Vollmer is a long time youth ministry volunteer, he still dresses up for Halloween, he watches Survivor at the Fields’ house, and works at First Allied Securities. He can be contacted at rvollmer@msn.com or followed on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rvollmer

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If you didn’t read DAY 1 or DAY 2 posts on being more family-friendly, you can obviously go back to those posts, but here’s the first six ideas that I presented. 

1. Give em dates
2. End on time
3. Get em talking
4. Keep em home
5. Talk em up
6. Speak good words

7. Teach em more: you shouldn’t pretend to be the authority on parenting if you haven’t been thru the parenting expedition yourself (then, even if you have, less of an authority and more a fellow-journeyman/woman). Parents often feel like failures and they’re looking for help, coaching, ideas, and “been-there” parents to share their stories. As a youth worker you can facilitate some parenting classes and/or seminars to increase their knowledge and skills. This can become an easy win for a youth worker by scheduling something like a Speaking To Teenagers Seminar.

8. Keep costs down: this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not. Youth workers often don’t think of costs because they’re typically not paying to attend the events. Consider leaving to camp a little later so you don’t have to pay for an extra meal at camp and/or come home before another meal (those meals add up). Think of scholarships or help for those families that have more than one teenager in the youth ministry.  This is not just a “it’s a tough economy” principle…this is family-friendly during a good economy too.

9. Watch their calendar: be aware of what’s happening during a school year and the holiday calendar. Try to stay away from a lot of meetings/events during the holiday seasons when families gather/celebrate. Also, be aware of when finals are for the teenagers in your ministry and keep your activities to a minimum. Here’s an example (a bad one), this year our youth ministry held a big youth group event on the weekend right before finals. Every kid needed to study but they all wanted to attend the event too. That type of poor programming puts pressure on families to make and enforce tough decisions.

10. Invite em along: as often as possible let parents know that you want them to join some of the youth ministry activities. Let them know they’re welcome to sit-in, tag-along, and occasionally pop into different programs and events. I’m not suggesting that you encourage them to lurk and never leave their kid’s side, but make sure they feel welcome. A couple weeks ago I had some of my 9th grade boys (from my small group) over to watch UFC and I invited the dads. Only a few came, but they loved it and I had a blast doing relational youth ministry with some of the dads. I will definitely build on those relationships.

I’d really love to see youth workers become more family-friendly…I hope you’ll think deeply about these ideas.

Okay, there’s my list of 10…what did I miss? What do you agree/disagree with? Would love to engage with you…I’ll be a little to the game because I’m flying to Louisville for a Speaking To Teenagers Seminar, but I’ll comment when I get to the hotel.

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Urban Meyer (coach at Florida) leaves field a winner to win at home with family

Football coach Urban Meyer won his last game this weekend vs. Penn State (in the Outback Bowl). He got a lot of accolades for winning, but maybe the loudest praise came from his family as he made the decision to step down from football (and one of the most prestigious coaching jobs in college) to be a better husband and father.

He said, “At the end of the day, I’m very convinced that you’re going to be judged on how you are as a a husband and as a father and not on how many bowl games we won. I’ve not seen my two girls play high school sports…I missed four years…I can’t get that time back….

He told The Times his daughter Nicki, 18, hugged him and said, “I get my daddy back.”

“I saw it as a sign from God that this was the right thing to do,” Meyer told The Times of his daughter’s reaction.

As bowl games heat up and big dollars are made by schools and coaches and players, Urban is walking away from millions to focus on his own family. From where I sit, it’s a totally commendable move. People who have coached and also been in ministry have told me that being a coach is very rough on the family and has a similar demand as ministry (as in it never stops). I wonder if there should be more leaders in ministry who follow his lead and walk away from a secure salary (granted, it would be thousands and not millions) so they can focus on their own family. Or, walk away from the unrealistic expectations that are placed on ministry leaders so their own kids don’t walk away from the church. I know that’s radical, but it’s those types of decisions that make a powerful difference.

What do you think?

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