Tag: Meals

Investing in staff, leaders and volunteers

Last week I wrote about policies your church might have about taking staff, leaders and volunteers to lunch. I received some great feedback, so thanks to those of you who responded.

I wrote these posts because my church is trying to develop some guidelines around how we spend our money when it comes to coffees, lunches and other meals. An initial response might be to think, “ugh, we’re getting to corporate” or “why the need for red tape?” But it’s not about that at all. It’s about both stewardship and understanding how to scale across ministries. Some departments have set aside funds to invest in their leaders and volunteers where others have not. Having some guidelines in place may help every department have what they need to be successful in this area. Also, when guidelines are in place, appropriate funds can be allocated for a ministry when new staff are hired or the number of volunteers grow. This is a good thing.

Ultimately, I think that spending money on staff, volunteers and leaders is a good thing. I’ve had opportunities to bless a volunteer who was having a bad week and it turned them around. I’ve had opportunities to discuss life and ministry with a leader over coffee that helped grow our relationship exponentially. Having some resources for these activities is a blessing. However, I think there are several things we should remember.

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Budgeting for meals with volunteers

If that’s not a sexy blog title, I don’t know what is.

Yesterday I wrote asking what your church policy is concerning meals with volunteers and leaders. For a holiday week and for inadvertently having comments turned off on my blog, it seemed like a question others were curious about. I’ll probably sum up this conversation next week, but I thought I’d give you an update on some of the information I’ve gathered so far. I have a “go-to” team of people who I often send emails to when I have questions like this. Depending on the questions, I mix up who I ask.

So here is some of the feedback I got:

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Lunch with a leader?

Okay, I’ve got a quick question for you. Being that we’re two days away from Thanksgiving, it fits well with a food theme.

One of the best ways to connect with a leader, a new volunteer or a parent is over a coffee, breakfast or lunch. At least that’s what I found. I and my staff frequently meet together over a meal or coffee and we do the same with others. This seems normal, right?

Well, a few months ago we began looking at our budget from a church leadership team perspective to see what policies we have around meals. What is appropriate? What is expected? What guidelines need to be in place to make sure that we’re wise with funds. I knew that over the past few years, we’ve worked with a set number that we’ve just increased year to year… but we never looked at the lump sum specifically and defined exactly how we’re spending it.

So, I sat with my staff and started asking the questions.

How many lunches do you need to have with your staff a month? Coffees?
How many lunches does your staff need to have with leaders/volunteers a month? Coffees?
How many other lunches & coffees do you and your team need to have with others?
I complied the numbers and our Children’s Ministry number alone ballooned to $25,000. Granted, we’re leading a volunteer force of 300 people with 5-6 staff… but that seemed a little excessive.

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