Creating Margin For Personal Ministry

Is evangelism, outreach, and discipleship a priority for you? For your ministry? And, more importantly, as a believer? I’m confident for most churches and Christian organizations, evangelism occupies a prominent aspect of the ministry plan. As Christ followers, it is an important individual principle as well. But what do our finances and budgeting say about the importance of these activities?

Perhaps you’ve heard the familiar saying, “Show me your checkbook (modern translation: banking app), and I’ll show you your priorities.” I’m not trying to be “that guy.” But it is true, for both organizations and individuals, we don’t [typically] accomplish what we haven’t planned.

Most churches have budget lines for outreach, evangelism, and discipleship activities. While those same specific budget lines don’t normally appear in a personal budget, we certainly could make room for outreach activities. I’m not suggesting we need a formalized spending plan for personal evangelism, but we can all work towards building margin in our budgets allowing for outreach opportunities.

Often, personal evangelism doesn’t require money, but sometimes it can help. With margin in our budget, we can take someone we’re discipling for coffee or a meal and spend some intentional time investing in the relationship. Or, we can say yes without hesitation to supporting a missions cause or taking a missions trip ourselves.

Many people feel restricted by a budget rather than enabled. But enabling is exactly what our budgets become when we reframe our perspective. Budgets help us stay focused on what’s important to us and help us align our spending with our life’s priorities. Outreach is not only a high priority; for the Christian, fulfilling God’s mandate is the highest priority.

Viewing our budget in this light, why wouldn’t we want to plan carefully for evangelistic or discipleship opportunities? It is important to ensure a pool of discretionary funds is available when these opportunities arise. Let’s make our budgets a tool for outreach, rather than a barrier.

As we go about our lives, engaging with our neighbors and culture-at-large, we have numerous opportunities to become lights in a dark world. It starts with simple things—a smile, a kind word to a store clerk, or assisting with a home project for your neighbor. These small things take little time. But small things, shared from a full heart of joy, eventually add up. Over time, people recognize a difference in us from what they see in the culture around us.

No, it doesn’t take money to evangelize or disciple others. But available funds can enhance opportunities to minister. How we choose to spend our money, and how we engage with those around us reveals our priorities. Let’s be measured by what matters and start measuring money matters in light of eternity.

When seeking to live a life marked by evangelism and discipleship, it is crucial to remember three simple principles for staying focused on what is really important:

  1. You don’t accomplish what you don’t plan.
  2. Budgeting can be a tool for outreach.
  3. Measure what matters.

**Adapted from ONE Magazine