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The Why Behind–and how to balance–Creative Spending

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Money. It's a touchy subject in the church world. We've seen money abused throughout church history, and yet, we still need it to keep our doors open and to do ministry. Now, you could argue that technically, we can still gather as a group and worship and learn without having to spend a dime, but that's a whole different debate. What I want to talk about is how to justify spending money as a church on creative things such as your sound system, graphics, or lighting. How can we justify–and keep in balance–spending on items that could seemingly be unnecessary? I'm going to give you 3 steps to get you started.

Step One: Make a budget

This might sound obvious to some people and may sound impossible to others, but in order to know how much you have to spend, you have to know how much you're spending in the first place. Start by determining what categories your church needs and then tracking all expenses over 3-12 months. It's up to you how long this process takes. At the end, you'll have a good idea what your typical operating budget should be as a church. It'll also help identify areas where you can tighten up or areas that are getting short-changed. In the end, you may realize you have NO extra cash, and that's ok. Set a goal for where you'd like the church to be and begin praying and asking God to get you there! You may realize that you have WAY more room in your budget than you thought. Wherever you land, this is an important step in becoming the best stewards of the money your church has been given!

Step Two: Ask Yourself What You Want

Now that you know how much you have to spend creatively, it's time to dream big. If you could afford any creative solutions, from hiring a full-time graphic designer to building a brand new stage set-up, what would you like to do at your church? This is a great opportunity to get input from other staff or leaders in the church. Find out what they feel like is missing or falling short of excellence.

Step Three: Now Ask Yourself WHY

This next part may be a little hard, but hear me out. It's so easy to look at these big churches on Instagram and Facebook and want what they have. "If only we had lighting like that, or social media as great as them, surely our church would grow!" This is such an easy trap to fall into, but it's just the lie of comparison. Before we pour so much time, energy and resources into trying to look like a 10,000 member church, let's stop and ask ourselves WHY? Why do we need perfect lighting during worship in order for people to feel more engaged? Why do we need better social media to get teens interested in the church? Why do we need perfect bumper videos for our sermons to be effective?

I absolutely believe as a creater, God LOVES when we create beautiful things, especially when they bring him honor, but when they become tools to manipulate a response or feed our egos, it's better to just go without. So if you want to have better lighting because it helps people to see the speaker better, or makes the live stream better quality, go for it! If you want to create great graphics to help communicate ideas and make things stick, then keep it on your list! I think when you cut out the unnecessary items, you'll find things much more do-able!

Step Four: Find Options Within Your Budget

Now that you know how much you have to spend and you have a list of creative goals that truly benefit your church, it's time to find solutions that work for you! Thankfully, there are so many great tools out there to choose from. Maybe there's someone at your church who's a graphic designer and would be willing to work within your budget to provide visuals for the church. Maybe you need to subscribe to a stock library of graphics until you're able to pay someone to do custom graphics for you.

If you're still hesitant to spend anything at all in this area for your church, remember how God put so much importance on the excellence and beauty of the Tabernacle and the Temple in the Bible? God wanted his dwelling place to reflect his throne room! While I don't believe we need to invest in putting pure gold pomegranates around our churches, I do believe having excellence in the way we build our church matters to God. If there's creative spending in your church you aren't comfortable with, spend some time in prayer and asking God about the WHY.

And if you find yourself at the other end of the spectrum, remember that it's ultimately the Holy Spirit who calls hearts to salvation and repentance and no amount of lighting or Instagram reels will put the control in our hands.


If you're looking for custom high-quality graphic design & websites, Audio/Visual consulation and training, or digital "marketing" like Google MyBusiness and Social Media, we'd love to help. We offer things at a lower rate because we believe in the importance of smaller churches having quality resources at their fingertips to help them spread the message of the Gospel with excellence!

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