Yes, I know that is an odd title. But this hasn’t turned into a business blog, so stay with me here.
Zero Based Budgeting is a financial process where instead of tweaking previous budgets (e.g., here’s a 3% increase for this area, and 5% for that area . . .), you start from scratch and re-justify every expenditure. Everything.
This is a healthy exercise for everyone to do – businesses, government, churches, families and individuals. Otherwise, we end up institutionalizing ineffeciencies and ineffective techniques and we becomes slaves to habits. This isn’t just about money, it is about how we spend our time.
Governments at all levels could perform this exercise to shift resources to where they are most needed. They don’t, of course.
With respect to church, we should periodically examine every element of worship, every committee, every ministry, etc. The main standard is, of course, “Is it Biblical?” Then comes the practical considerations of whether things are productive, cost effective, etc. We will always have limited resources, so we need to be good stewards of what we have been given.
This also works on a personal level. Have you thought about where you spend every dollar and whether it reflects your priorities? Also, think about where you spend your time. If you are a Christian who has difficulty finding time to read the Bible and pray, have you done a review of where you do spend your time? For example, until 10 years ago, I thought I didn’t have time to read the Bible. Then I realized that I had no problem making time for other activities – watching TV, reading magazines, reading the newspaper, etc. – and that with a little change in habits I could find all the time I needed.
Give it a try. Be ruthless.