October 2021 Resource

Budgeting for a Healthy Church: Aligning Finances with Biblical Priorities for Ministry
Budgeting for a Healthy Church: Aligning Finances with Biblical Priorities for Ministry


James Dunlap


Zondervan-9Marks, Grand Rapids, MI

Book Review By:

Melvin Amerson

Premise of the book:
A budgeting process filtered through the lens of biblical foundations, congregational values, administrative/ministry reviews, and ministry focus helps create vibrant church culture.

What this book does:
The author of this resource draws from his experience to guide pastors, finance committees, and church administrators on embedding a budgeting process that reviews ministry effectiveness and funding allocation. It covers leadership, income projection, staffing, programming, missions/outreach, and communicating budget-related matters. Also, it points out common mistakes in budgeting leadership. Budgeting for a Healthy Church includes questions, worksheets, and budgeting process timelines from a variety of churches. Moreover, this book moves pastors and church leaders beyond financial figures to a scripture-based, relationship-focused model of ministry.


Chapter 1: Why Does God Care about Your Church Budget
Chapter 2: Leadership: Budgeting Is Pastoral Work
Chapter 3: Income: Aiming for Faithfulness
Chapter 4: Staff: Supporting Servants of the Word
Chapter 5: Programs: Equipping the Congregation for Ministry
Chapter 6: Missions and Outreach: Becoming a Discriminating Investor
Chapter 7: Operations: Helping the Church Proclaim and Portray
Chapter 8: Communication: Using the Budget as a Pastoral Tool
Appendixes and Scripture Index

What are some important insights:
Rev. Dunlop provides great insights, questions, and worksheets throughout this resource to help reshape and reimagine the budgetary process for persons who are charged with the responsibility of creating the budget. He provides suggestions on how to transition programs that have outlived purpose and need. Also, he shares is thoughts on budgeted ministry versus special appeals.

Possibilities as a resource for churches:
This is a good resource for clergy and finance committees to explore and discover new ways to approach the budgetary process.

Melvin Amerson

The Rev. Melvin Amerson is a member of the Texas Annual Conference and serves as a Resource Specialist and Area Representative at TMF. His experience and passion lie in encouraging and developing generous, faithful leaders and congregations.

Amerson is the author of Celebrating the Offering, Fruit for Celebrating the Offering, and Stewardship in African American Churches: A New Paradigm, as well as several articles covering topics from generosity, leadership, and visioning. He served as a board member of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center until it was dissolved in 2021 and is currently serving on the Texas Annual Conference Church Leadership Team. He is a nationally recognized generosity consultant known for his engaging presentations. Beyond strengthening congregational leaders, one of his favorite ways to use his skills is to empower Wesley Foundation staff to effectively fund their college ministries.

Melvin obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, an M.Div degree concentrating in Christian education from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, an Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and a certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University. Recently, he completed a fundraising certificate with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.