Are We Spending Too Much?

Imagine this conversation between a pastor and a WMU director:

Pastor: “You know, I’ve been thinking about our missions education program. I’m concerned that we spend too much money on curriculum and missions products.”

WMU Director: “Pastor, I’m with you! We all want to protect God’s money that is given to the church. And, as the WMU director, I constantly watch how much we much spend and why we spend it. Our leadership team regularly evaluates our missions education budget and we try to squeeze as much out of it as possible.”

Pastor: “Have you considered dropping WMU materials and going with another missions education program? There must be a lot of them out there.”

WMU Director: “Pastor, each year, in the spring, I sit down with our missions leaders, and we talk about our materials and what we order, and we try to determine the best route to go with our missions education programs. Do you know what we’ve discovered? Years ago, we discovered that if our church wants to feature Southern Baptist missionaries, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, disaster relief, and many other unique Southern Baptist missions elements, there is really no other program that does as much as what we get from WMU!

Pastor: “Are you sure?”WMU Director: “Yes, I am! While there are tons of other materials out there, none of the other materials provide the biblical basis of missions, feature Southern Baptist missionaries, or teach our boys and girls that God may one day call them to serve as missionaries too. So, even though we evaluate our programs and materials each year, we’ve always chosen WMU material because again and again to just how important it is to teach our children about what God is doing around the world and what He may do through them.”

Pastor: “I see your point. Thanks for helping me to understand the process. And thanks for reminding me of the value of missions education curriculum in our church.”

This imaginary conversation could have been played out in countless Southern Baptist churches as work is begun on the next church budget or during a time when the church budget is struggling.

As a former pastor myself, I know how important it is to watch every penny given to the church. As the pastor, I was always mindful that each penny given to the church was done so sacrificially, and that our church had to spend it wisely. There were times in my ministry when tough decisions had to be made. There were times we had to talk about cutting staff, literature budgets, even missions giving. There were times that we literally placed everything on the table as a fair topic of conversation.

During those times, we’d cut out anything wasteful. Those cuts were never easy nor taken lightly. If we were wasting too many office products, we’d cut back. If we were ordering too much literature, we’d make a decision about how to better use our materials. Those were not easy conversations to have. But they were necessary conversations.

As you approach your next church budgeting process, take a hard look at where you are. Be a good steward of the money given to your church and the money allocated to your missions education budget. As needed, call WMU Customer Service at 1-800-968-7301 to talk about your materials and ways to improve what you are currently receiving. Talk with your pastor and church staff to keep them in the loop on what you are doing and why.

Most importantly, pray. Continue to ask God to direct your steps as you make missions education decisions. Those decisions make an impact today, and for years to come.

As national WMU can assist you, please let us know.


M. Steve Heartsill is a husband and father. He’s served as a local pastor in Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia. Now he’s the managing editor for Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, and Challengers.

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