the shape of leadership

FAQ: Setting Budget Percentages

Doug Clay answers frequently asked questions concerning church business practices

Doug Clay on March 14, 2017

What are appropriate budget percentages for salary, operations and maintenance?
Due to the great variety in church staffing, the age of a church’s facilities, the debt that a church carries, and the activities of a church, it is difficult to make a blanket statement concerning how much of the church’s budget ought to be devoted to the various operations of the church. An established, low-debt, fully staffed church may incur personnel costs that exceed 50 percent of its budget.

On the other hand, a newer church which relies upon bi-vocational pastors and volunteers to fill traditional staff positions may have a more modest portion of its budget devoted to salaries. However, more of the budget may be devoted to activities geared to introducing the new church to the community.

The best source of determining appropriate guidelines for your church (without incurring the cost of a consultant) is to utilize your network of pastors who are in a similar situation or have been through a similar situation. Even if you don’t find your church fits precisely into the same model as another church, the comparison of where your church is on staffing levels, debt, facility expenses, number of individuals being served, etc., can be extremely valuable in helping you establish an appropriate budget for your church.

This article was originally published on and has been adapted with permission. For more resources from the General Treasurer’s office, click here

Disclaimer: The purpose of this FAQ is to provide basic information regarding church administration. Information contained within is generic in nature and is intended as a guide, not a substitute for seeking professional advice specific to your church or any state laws. If you have explicit concerns, please consult a professional.

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