by Jac La Tour

There are three ways to communicate. You can tell people something. You can show them. Or you can do both. A couple days ago I told you that ECCU is presenting a panel discussion workshop at the upcoming Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA) National Conference. It’s called How to Build a Better Budget. I also told you that the panelists know whereof they speak when it comes to ministry budgeting.

Starting with today’s post, I’d like to show you that these people know their numbers. How? I emailed three questions to each one of them and asked them to respond from their ministry and financial perspective. Consider this a preview of the richness of the discussion you’ll get to experience by attending this workshop.

First up is Billy Burnett, executive vice president and CFO with Joni and Friends.

Jac:  What top three priorities should guide the budgeting process?

Billy:     First, make sure it aligns strategically and tactically with your ministry’s mission. Second, be sure it’s based in biblical and financial reality. And third, be sure to tap into the collective wisdom and experience of your entire organization.

Jac:  What are two or three major changes you’ve made to your budgeting process and what was the result?

Billy:     One is that we switched to a live budget preparation, collaboration, and approval process. The benefits were that we got instant approvals and people walked away from the process with their budgets in hand. Second is to shorten the budget preparation time, which resulted in sharper focus and better planning.

Jac:  How can an attendee prepare to gain the most value from this workshop?

Billy:     I’d say come with a list of objectives. Include problems you’re facing that need solutions. And come prepared to contribute to the group by describing things you’ve done that have proved to be fruitful.

Like I said, these panelists know how to budget. Their workshop will be on Thursday, April 11, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

To register for the CLA conference, visit

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