Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't Break the Bank!

It is wonderful to seek to build our arsenals with information concerning the ministry of movement. If we are not careful, we can let our hunger for knowledge overrule good common sense and stewardship practices. We must seek the Lord regarding our annual activities and plan in advance to see the greatest benefits.

Dance Conferences and Workshops
There are several wonderful conferences hosted every year all over the world. In my role as dance ministry leader, I require that the dancers attend at least two workshops or conferences per year. These gatherings can be local or distant, free or paid. The purpose is to get the dancers connected to the larger dance community and glean from others. Sometimes dancers will learn what not to do at these events, but that is another story for another day...

For this requirement, I had a budget in place for conference and workshop registrations to be paid for the group. Most conferences and workshops offer an Early-Bird Registration discount. In some cases, registering early can save hundereds of dollars per person! Some churches and organizations have the ability to pay for registrations, travel, and hotel expenses for dance ministries. This kind of support is wonderful, but not as common.

Sharing hotel expenses between 2-4 people can save us money. If we are planning to travel with a large group, we may be able to request a group discount with airlines, or contract a chartered bus company for transport if the group is large enough. If we plan ahead, we can begin raising funds for knowledge-building without breaking the bank.

Garment Purchases
This is also an area that requires planning in advance. In a tight economy, it is not enough to expect every dancer to purchase new garments just because the leader said so. If we know that we will need a garment by a certain date, we should contact a seamstress or tailor in advance so that the job is not rushed. If we are ordering from a catalog or online, we may be able to get discounts for bulk purchases, but must also collect the money in advance. Dance studios and organizations can apply to purchase dance attire wholesale by submitting the proper documentation to cut costs.

Another way to trim down the price is to request fabric store gift cards as a fundraiser for the organization. This will reduce the cost of the fabric, zippers, and notions from the final price of the garment. Cheaper is not always better. We must have people who can create garments for us in our price range, while maintaining the quality and the vision that God gave us for the garment.

Ministry Vendors
Often when we attend dance ministry events, vendors will exhibit garments, books, worship instruments, etc. It can be exciting and overwhelming to see many things that we desire in the same setting. We must not let our emotions get the best of us. Before we decide to spend our money, we should make a list of the items that we need, and plan for them appropriately. Even if we are unsure about what the vendors will offer, we can set a budget for what we would like to spend, and stick with it. Supporting ministry vendors is crucial for many who buy tables at conferences. This can be a win-win situation for all involved.

Let's Get Practical!
If we make purchases but cannot pay our bills at home, we are not practicing good stewardship. Spending every weekend away from home at ministry events to the detriment of family and children may cause division and hurt. Careless purchases without regard to our current credit report and debt load can make us appear hypocritical. Seeking the Lord regarding Kingdom steward and handling of finances: PRICELESS!

Proverbs 23:23
Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Luke 12:42
And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?"

1 Corinthians 4:2
Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

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