In part #3 of this series, we will go into more details on the typical process for youth ministry budgets. Right now I want to look at five more categories you will want to include in your proposed budget (and some reasoning or thoughts behind each one).
Possible Budget Categories:
This category has the potential to be a rather high percentage of your entire budget, if you let it. You will want to include enough money to pay for a speaker, a band, decorations, materials, promotion and food (unless you include it in the food category). Included in this category would be any event you hold during the year, from your kickoff Sunday to a weekend retreat or area-wide gatherings.
This category is for any expense you incur to “market” your youth ministry. Be creative with this category and use methods that will reach the students you want to reach. Do not get stuck in a pattern of marketing the same way every year or even the same way the congregation as a whole markets. Your marketing budget might include items like: t-shirts, ads on Google, yard signs, yearbook ads, banners, coffee mugs, temporary tattoos, buttons, backpacks, notebooks, shoes.
Regardless of what you spend your marketing money on, you need to remember that your ultimate goal is to tell people about Jesus Christ, not about your youth ministry. I would encourage you to not spend a high percentage of your total budget on this category; rather, let your ministry speak for itself and have your students market via word-of-mouth.
8. Classroom Materials
These materials are essential to your ministry, though you will most likely spend very little time thinking about them. Make sure you have the finances for paper, pens, dry erase markers, pencils. You could also include furniture or donuts in this category if you need to.
This is one of the fun categories where you have to be careful the money you spend is wisely spent (reread post #1 on stewardship if you have questions). You will want to budget for all costs associated with your website, any software you will need, digital and/or video camera equipment, iPods or mp3 players, televisions and DVD players. Some of you might even be able to include a laptop or projector in this budget category. Just remember that you do not need the latest technology in order to have an effective youth ministry.
This category is for those materials you need in order to communicate in a non-internet method. Some of you might think I’m crazy for suggesting we communicate with students and parents in any form other than text message. It is in this age of texting that I think the hand written note is most powerful. Think about this; how many written notes do your students get during an average month? Unless its a note passed during Science class, I bet the answer is zero. Most people do not stop to hand write anything, even invitations to parties are done online.
When you take time to write a note to a student it shows them you care. It only costs you a few minutes of your day, but its impact is greater than 10 emails. Start the habit of writing a note to each student during a month (if you have too many students, divide the students among the youth coaches and then rotate your recipients from month to month) and watch how it affects their attitude toward you and the youth ministry.
I have found that buying a bunch of blank notes and postcards is the easiest. You do not have to write much more than a few sentences, so you do not feel like you have to say too much. Pictures work well, too. Print off some extra pictures and send them to the students with a little note on the back. You will need to make sure you have enough postage, too. I recommend buying the letter stamps by the roll and postcard stamps a couple sheets at a time.