When asking if your church budget reflects the Great Commission, I am not referring to how much money goes to missions, although that could be a part of it. There’s so much more to the Great Commission than missions. Let’s break down Matthew 28:18-20 and ask ourselves some strategic questions on how it relates to budgeting.
A Budget Impacted by the Authority of Jesus
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples …”
The word “Therefore” in this verse is so important to the Great Commission because it connects us back to what Jesus said just prior to the command to go and make disciples. The Resurrected Jesus spoke these words, the One who had authority over even death and sin. He put the full weight of His authority into this mission. Consequently, we must take it seriously in all we do, which even includes budgeting. A budget that reflects the Great Commission therefore is one that is impacted by the authority of our Lord.
- Does the way you develop your budget reflect His Lordship?
- Is He made an integral part of the budget process from start to finish?
- Does He get the final say on how money is allocated and spent?
A Budget Geared toward Disciplemaking
“Therefore go and make disciples …”
After speaking these words, Jesus would soon ascend back to heaven. His disciples would be the ones to carry out His work. What was His work? — Making disciples. Jesus had full authority to pass this mission on to His disciples. As some of His last parting words, Jesus obviously was attaching importance to this directive. A budget that reflects the Great Commission must certainly be geared around the accomplishment of this command.
- Does your budget adequately provide for disciplemaking?
- Are the salaries, facilities, and other high budget items justified in light of the Great Commission?
- Does your budget accommodate primarily in-house needs or does it sufficiently provide for supporting those who “go” and make disciples?
A Budget Promoting Ministry by All and to All
“make disciples of all nations”
Let’s remember that “all” nations includes your own. In Acts 1:8 Jesus, speaking to the disciples whose home base was in Israel, said, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Not everyone in your church will “go” to foreign countries to serve. Some will remain local. Some will be career missionaries while other will be missionaries in their career. A budget that reflects the Great Commission will not only seek to support those who go to foreign fields but also provide tools and resources for everyone to learn to be His witnesses and make disciples where they are in their families, friendships, neighborhoods, and workplace.
- How much of your budget goes into equipping people to “go and make disciples” wherever they are?
- How supportive are you of home-based as well as foreign missionaries?
A Budget Focused on God
“baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
A disciple identifies him or herself as belonging to the Lord. Baptism is a public demonstration of new life in Him. Notice that we do not baptize people in the name of our church. Rather, we baptize them in the name of the Triune God. A budget that reflects the Great Commission must therefore be one that uses funds to point people to the Lord, not ourselves.
- How much of your budget goes into marketing your church to the exclusion of ministry that could lead people to the Lord?
- Are promotional materials self-glorifying or glorifying God?
A Budget Lined Up with God’s Purposes and Ways
“and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Disciplemaking goes beyond leading people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Disciplemaking is about helping people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ who will in turn go and make disciples. Notice that we are to teach them to obey “everything.” Looking at Jesus’ example of making disciples, we must conclude that verbal instruction is not the only way to teach them. Jesus also provided an example for them to follow. A budget that reflects the Great Commission undoubtedly must be one that can be held up as a model of good stewardship and what it means to make His mission our’s in all we do, including how we spend our money and the whole process of budgeting.
- Can you hold your budget up as an example of what it means to align with Him in EVERYTHING?
A Budget Dependent on the Lord
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus gave this assignment to make disciples of all nations in a day when getting to all the nations wasn’t very easy. They lacked the technology, means of transportation, and other modern amenities we have today to use as tools. Having the assurance of Jesus’ presence as they accomplished His will meant it was possible even with minimal means. With His presence comes His power. A budget that reflects the Great Commission therefore demonstrates dependence on Him.
- Does your budget reflect faith in God to take you beyond where you are today?