In tight times, it's not uncommon to hear about churches saving money. With fewer dollars to give, many parishnors have had to cut back on tithing, leaving churches with fewer dollars to maintain their buildings of worship and their outreach programs, such as food pantries and religious education.
Volunteers Help Churches Saving Money
One of the best ways for churches to save money is to utilize volunteers from within their congregations. Paid positions within a church often include secretaries, janitorial staff, music directors and youth leadership members.
Turning those positions into volunteer positions helps the church reducing spending on salaries for those positions. Of course, many church members need to work full-time positions to support their own families. In this case, it may make sense to have a committee that divides up responsibilities of each position.
Some congregations also save money by sharing a pastor with another nearby congregation, splitting the salary and housing expense of the pastor and hisor her family. The split is usually decided by the division of duty, with the pastor spending more time in the church that pays the majority of the pastoral salary.
Combined Congregational Efforts
Combining with another church to save money by sharing a pastor is just one way for churches to save money. Joining together with other churches of the same denomination or even faith base can help churches save money in other areas, too.
Vacation Bible School programs often cost significant amounts of money in terms of program supplies. However, dividing the program costs between three or four local churches can cut expenses significantly. Additionally, combining special services with other congregations, such as Lent or Advent services, can help save building costs, like electricity and heating, as the church is open for fewer services.
Churches with food pantries may also need to combine efforts with other congregations in order to stay afloat. Churches saving money should consider sharing volunteers, resources, delivery services and more with other churches in the area in order to continue serving the community.
More Ways for Churches to Save
In addition to using volunteers from the congregation, churches can save money in many of the same ways that other families do. After all, many churches are large families. Here are some ways that people have found for churches saving money:
- Hosting potluck dinners after worship services instead of the church footing the bill.
- Turning down the heating and cooling system when the church is not open for meetings or services.
- Making sure all lights are turned off when leaving rooms or the building.
- Putting renovation or expansion plans on hold.
- Hosting bake sales, garage/rummage sales and other fundraisers to help pay upkeep costs.
Churches need to save money for emergencies just like families do. Like other buildings, churches are susceptible to fires, damaging winds and maintenance issues. Therefore, it is important to keep some emergency savings on hand, and keep insurance and maintenance up-to-date.
Free Religious Resources
Plenty of free religious resources are available online for download or printing. These resources vary from decorative religious posters to adult Bible study lessons to children's religious games. Find out more in these LoveToKnow articles:
Coupons and discounts are also a good way to cut back on costs. Look for discount Bible software and other cheap or low-cost ways to supplement religious teachings within the church.