A Decision Making Process for Making a Financial Commitment

The church I lead is going through a major visioning time called Bold.  I’m personally so excited about it, but as you know if you’re a church leader or volunteer it also means two things:

You need to make a personal commitment.

You need to lead your community in helping them make a commitment.

This is a post I put on the Connexus Blog today.  I share it with you as a church leader as a process that might help you as you lead in your context. And of course, I’d love your feedback on what you’re learning about this subject to.


Over the next two weeks, many of us are going to do something we’ve never done before. We’re going to make a commitment to fund the vision behind Bold.

I know this is new and maybe scary territory for a lot of us. Rather than tell you what to do, I thought I’d simply tell you the process my wife Toni and I followed to figure out what we were going to give to Bold.

Before you think this is just a ‘preacher-type’ blog post, please know it wasn’t an easy process for us either. We had to work hard at getting on the same page. We had to trust God at new levels.

And yes, at one point, we even had an argument over it. So in many ways, we’re no different than you are. But, in the end, we landed on the same page, and we’re so excited to be able to give the gift.

We had been praying more boldly as a family for a while, and inviting more boldly, but there’s no greater tension most of us face than trying to figure out how to give more boldly.

So what did we do? Here was our process:

  • We committed to doing this together. We wanted to make sure this was our gift.  So we committed to do the hard work of finding agreement.  We had given to a campaign once before without finding true agreement, and we were committed to not doing that again.
  • We prayed about it individually without talking about the details. We started the process of praying about it individually a few months ago.  But you could compress that into a a day or two if you had to.
  • We then talked about a “ball park”. After some personal prayer time, we sat down one night and I asked Toni what she was thinking in terms of a ‘ball park” commitment.  We were in the same ballpark, but on different bases.  There was a gap between the figures.
  • We argued. The gap created some tension, but after a tense evening, we apologized, prayed and worked through it. Not surprisingly if you know my wife, I had to do the greater share of the apologizing.  But we’re still married.  Happily. And thankfully.
  • We reworked our budget. Even the lowest number we were thinking of wasn’t going to be possible without reworking our finances. Cuts had to come somewhere else.  I used this budget form from Joe Sangl’s resources (it’s free) to plan out a new family budget. That took a full evening.
  • We made some trade offs. Our savings goals would change for the short term.  We trimmed some expenses.  I decided to put off purchasing another vehicle until after Bold (mine has 360,000 km but I’m trusting it will last the two years).  I had also gone on a personal spending fast earlier this year which has helped free up more money for Bold.
  • We set time aside to pray together, and rework the numbers. We started with the lowest figure we agreed on as a potential gift.  We prayed together, decided to stretch our faith and reworked our budget to make a sacrificial donation possible.
  • We left room for God. There’s a part of our gift that we’re not sure how we can pay for. That makes it a faith gift.
  • We found agreement on a gift. When we reworked the budget and figured out what we could give up front, what we could give weekly and what we could give at different points in the year (tax refunds etc), we found a commitment that we both agreed on.  In our case, it was about 40% more than we started with. It felt like a sacrifice by that point.  Then we prayed. Then we cried. We were excited to see what was possible when we really worked on it.

That was our process.  I realize it’s different for everyone, and the size of the gift matters far less than the size of the sacrifice.  It was actually a really exciting and rewarding process.

Your process might be simpler and shorter, but I hope it’s rewarding.

What are you learning as you get ready to make your Bold Commitment?

– Carey



  1. cnieuwhof on November 14, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Hadn’t thought of that. Thanks Charlie!

  2. Charlie Hodsdon on November 14, 2012 at 9:45 am

    This could easily be adapted for all kinds of situations, and for leadership teams.

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