Budget Your Discipleship Curriculum
Do you just accept the classroom status quo or do you strategically plan your discipleship and budget so that you can work to properly fund that plan? A well thought out plan with solid supporting information is a useful tool that will benefit you, your ministry and your students in many ways. I want to present some thoughts for you to consider in planning and budgeting for your discipleship program.
I have been there first as a teacher, then as a program director and as an executive director. I have wrestled with these issues. Budget issues, fundraising and funding the curriculum are all a challenge. But as a leader,it was my responsibility where I was going to draw the line for these issues. I had to determine the standard we were going to set for the students, the classroom and for the curriculum.
As an Educational Director or even a Program Director, we can often assume that the Executive Director knows what our needs are, after all, he IS the Executive Director! On the other hand, the Executive Director may assume that you have what you need for the classroom, because you never tell them otherwise. Working through the process of planning and developing a budget will help you communicate the need creating vision and momentum to move discipleship to a higher level.
Let’s look specifically at the GSNC budget. With the new discount increase (now 45%) for Teen Challenge centers, you can now purchase a full set of GSNC materials (all 14 Student Manuals and Study Guides) for $49.94+ shipping for each student. That covers four months of induction phase group training for less than $50 dollars per student.
I am a firm believer in putting the printed curriculum into the hands of the students; for giving them a copy that they can keep for themselves.
- When you give a student their own copy to write in and to keep you are showing the student that you value them. You have invested in them.
- Because you have valued them they will value the curriculum more. It is something they will want to keep and use again in the future, which many graduates have reported doing.
- The curriculum is something they can be proud to keep and show to family and friends. Many students have gone on after graduation to use the curriculum with their spouses and children. Some have shown it to their pastors and in turn the pastor utilizes it in a Sunday School or small group.
The only alternatives are to: have the students write answers on their own paper and hand the materials back in – leaving them with nothing but their own notes and no materials to re-read or restudy in the future, or photocopy the materials, which is illegal and unethical, setting a poor example for the students, and provides the students with sub-quality materials.
Calculating the number of students you will have each year, you can easily outline the budget amount you need for not only GSNC, but PSNC and other training phase discipleship materials for a full year. Once you have determined the amount per student and the amount you will need for the year, present the information to the Director.
Many of us have used Light for the Lost funds to help us purchase these materials through the years. Those funds are not always available (much like applying for any grant request). Some have thought, “Well if there are no Light for the Lost funds, we have no money for curriculum.” There are alternatives. Together you can determine a creative and strategic plan to fund your curriculum. Here are a few ideas:
- Present the information to specific donors. Some would be excited to fund such a specific project.
- Organize an annual event that raises money just for curriculum.
- An entry fee that covers curriculum cost for each student could be another option.
Teen Challenge is a discipleship ministry! Working to provide a quality classroom with quality resources should be a priority! $50 per student for GSNC materials is an attainable goal.
For more information on this topic, visit connections.teenchallengeusa.com and search “curriculum budgeting.”