Budgeting for the Preferred Future

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I’ve written about arriving at the preferred future a number of times.  My most requested talk features this concept.

The essence of the concept?  The present can be explained by an understanding of Andy Stanley’s insightful one-liner: “Your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you’re currently experiencing.”

The probable future can be anticipated.  As Albert Einstein famously declared, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Want to arrive in the preferred future?  Don’t want to end up in the probable future?  You must begin to do different things.

What makes the new trajectory possible?  Among other things, budget reallocation.  Budget is a zero sum reality.  It must be allocated to the critical growth path.

How does that happen?  Peter Drucker’s wisdom is enlightening:

“Innovating organizations spend neither time nor resources on defending yesterday.  Systematic abandonment of yesterday alone can free the resources, and especially the scarcest of them all, capable people, for work on the new.”

Scarily efficient.  Not an endeavor undertaken lightly.  Which is why Carl George’s line is so compelling: “Leaders allocate the finite resources to the critical growth path.”

What do you think?  Have a question?  Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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  1. Billy chidester on March 1, 2015 at 5:19 am

    I need an example of a budget reallocated with groups in mind. Can you give me some ideas or examples?

  2. markchowell on March 1, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Thanks for jumping in here, Billy. I think the best way to think about budget reallocation is like this: You can only spend the budget once. If you look at your budget, say for adult ministry, and you are still funding things that don’t lead to a small group…that money probably needs to be reallocated. An example would be if you’ve budgeted money to bring down the cost of annual retreat for men, but the retreat location, theme or topic, and activities only attract the usual suspects (deep insiders), you may need to examine your spending an instead allocate funds for an event that would provide an easy next step out of the auditorium that will likely be taken by unconnected men.

    And it’s really not just about pure financial investment. For example, if you examine the way your on-campus facilities are prioritized and you find that you’re using lots of space for things that are destinations and not steps that lead to a small group experience…you need to reallocate.

    Hope this helps. By the way, none of this will be easy. When you reallocate you will effectively be taking resources away from those who have grown accustomed to it being all about them and giving the resources to steps that connect people.


  3. Denis Keith on January 19, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Mark, I read your response to Billy below, but I am wondering what kinds of items should be on my list for a healthy on-going small group ministry. I am the Adults Pastor with Small Groups as part of my role. Example: Do I ask for $ to help cover training SG leaders?

  4. Mark Howell on January 19, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Hi Dennis! Thanks for jumping in here! And the answer is Yes! If you want to build a thriving small group ministry you must fund what you might think of as “force multipliers.” That is, fund the things that increase likelihood of reaching your preferred future. Budget for ongoing development of coaches, developing group leaders, events that provide great first steps out of auditorium, and connecting events that produce NEW groups.