The DYM Store is filled with resources written by youth workers like you to help youth workers win. We love hearing the stories behind the resources from the authors themselves. Read more about the traumatic experience that led Chad Merrihew to create Youth Ministry Budget Templates

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I created the Youth Ministry Budget Templates out of necessity over 6 years ago after my Senior Pastor called me into his office in regards to losing $2,500 from summer camp! He asked to see my budget, at which point I started sweating and thinking through how to update my resume. (I didn’t have a budget for that trip, as you probably guessed.)

As I walked out of my boss’s office humbled I quickly found my notes from my college Accounting 101, 201, and 301 classes and began building an in-depth Excel template. I ran this resource by our church controller (the money lady) for her input and critique.

I use this resource not only for summer camp but to budget for any retreat, training, event, or mission trip in which I charge students. It has evolved over the years by adding in a roster spreadsheet, and eventually turned into an Annual Ministry Budget Template.

What I love most about these Templates is how it allows youth workers the freedom to understand and organize appropriately. The budgets give accountability and spread out the responsibility to those who sign off on a budget once it’s done.

The first summer I lost $2,500 was partly because I had a hard time turning down students who couldn’t afford camp so I told them to come for FREE. By creating a budget, I can often figure out creative ways to get trip costs lower, and often I budget in “early-bird” discounts, scholarships, and get the church to underwrite a portion.

A good trip budget helps me plan ahead and helps me steward funds more responsibly. It’s crazy how helpful it can be to walk through all options ahead of time. The 10% fluff factor I add in regularly has constantly saved me from going over—random expenses always arise no matter how well you plan. I’ve seen this resource bring my Senior Pastor peace when planning intricate trips, and I’ve seen parents impressed with knowing why trips cost what they do by having this easily accessible to them.

After the trip budget template was created, I decided to take this resource a step further and created an Annual Ministry Budget Template, which has been one of the best things I’ve done. My church does budget planning every May for the new fiscal year (July 1) and once I started creating a budget ahead of time (that was easy to understand) I noticed that I was taken more seriously, and often I am able to get my budget increased each year. This tool helps me steward our tithers’ money appropriately and allows me to plan ahead for the year responsibly. I meet with our controller every month to update the Actuals on this budget! 

I hope this resource has or will bring you the freedom and peace of mind it’s brought to our youth ministry. Enjoy!