Essential Guide to Church Budgeting

by Richard Vargo. Christianity Today, 2013.
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Author and accounting professor emeritus Richard Vargo seeks to help churches understand and create budgets that then improve congregational health. Vargo first grounds readers in fiscal “accountability and terminology,” helping readers to understand the relationship between money and ministry. He shares negative examples of building a budget, concluding with “10 Common Budgeting Mistakes.” Vargo gives ten reasons for having a budget. Two are as follows: budgets 1) institute financial constraints, and 2) are a “basis for performance evaluation.” Vargo demystifies the budget-building process when he examines the origination of a budget and the “approach” to a budget. He offers advice for “creating a realistic budget.” Vargo advocates for advance financial planning and measuring ministry outcomes throughout his work. He adds charts as examples and asks questions appropriate for congregational assessment. Vargo’s must-read booklet is for any congregation that seeks a more effective way to build its budget.