“The Death of an


How to keep it from wrecking your church budget!

by Dave Anderson-Church Accounts MGR

Your Church Admin

I’m not really the most mechanical of guys but let me tell you something I do know about air conditioners. They have a life span.  Eventually they get to a place where nothing else can be done for them and their time on your roof comes to an end.

Quite often the death of an air conditioner, water heater, roof, or beloved bus throws a church into a financial panic.  The repairs must be made but the funds to do so don’t exist.  

Have you ever laid hands on a piece of equipment, and prayed it would resurrect like Lazarus?

Leaders must make difficult decisions about how to make repairs.  Can we just duct tape it? Do we cut ministry or salaries? Do we incur debt?  

The best way to avoid financial crises is to prepare for them.

Things are going to break. Have funds ready for when they do.

Dave Ramsey calls it an “Emergency Fund.”  

An accountant might call it something like a “maintenance savings fund.”

Every organization and home should have one.  

Set aside funds each month that can’t be used for anything other than unexpected repairs.  

In the simplest of methods, just pick a dollar amount and put it in the fund each month.  

Any amount is better than nothing.

$100 per month would get you to $1,200 in a years time.

One big repair would likely wipe out all those funds, but at least you could soften some of the financial hit.  

$500 per month would offer $6000 per year in emergency funds, which would likely cover most repairs.

There is no set total dollar amount for how much should remain in this fund.  Think about the age and condition of your facilities.  What dollar amount would likely cover most repairs? Have at least that amount set aside.

The best plan is to walk your property with someone who understands facility mechanics. Do you know a contractor or home inspector?

Ask them to give you some guidance on potential future repairs.

Make a list of the items and prioritize them:

Furnace might last 2 years.

Water heater very poor shape.

The parking lot needs to be resurfaced and striped.

What is the most critical? Which creates the biggest safety concerns?

What has the biggest impact on ministry?  

Save and spend based on those answers.

You might decide to set aside $150 per month for the water heater and replace it in four months.

A new furnace might cost $6,000 so you set aside $250 per month with a plan to replace it in two years.

Asphalting parking lots is a huge expense.  They need to be recoated and striped every two to four years and resurfaced every 10 years.

Know this expense is coming and set aside whatever you can to prepare for it.

This planning can be overwhelming.  

It is hard to wrap your head around setting aside funds for things that don’t easily tie directly into advancing the kingdom.

Setting aside money for things that “might” break someday doesn’t make sense on surface.

Here is what I can promise you and hope you understand.  

Things are going to break, and they will impact your Kingdom building efforts.  

I remember our church sewers backing up during a huge Christmas outreach.  Five hundred people were in the building. No bathrooms and raw sewage in the hallways.  

Our ability for effective ministry nearly got flushed that night. (Pun intended!)

Finding an emergency sewer service and dealing with the crowd was stressful.

You know what was not stressful?  

The $2000 repair bill because I knew we had more than that in our emergency fund.

Start an emergency fund for your church if you don’t have one.  

Put something, anything in it.

Don’t let a mechanical breakdown force you to make poor financial decisions or limit your ability to minister.

Water pipe bursts?? No big deal!  

No emergency meetings.  No worries.

You have funds set aside just for things like this!

Somewhere in your facility right now there is a critical piece of equipment that is getting close to the end of its lifecycle.

Your emergency fund will be the insurance policy that covers its funeral expenses.

Rest in peace air conditioner.  You served us well.

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