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Yes, budgets can be amended. Perhaps the larger question is whether the church budget should be amended. Most churches leave the church budget in place once it is approved. Changes, while bringing budget numbers in line with reality, may create confusion between different versions of the budget.

Since the budget merely represents estimates of revenue and expense, it is normal for variances between budget line items and actual experience to occur—often, some of the variances are significant.

ECFA’s First Annual Church Stewardship Survey found that leading churches set their budgets about 10 percent below their giving levels, indicating a fiscal conservatism; the other churches set their budgets just 1 percent below their giving levels, leaving little cushion.

Dan Busby is president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)—an accreditation organization that sets standards for governance, financial management, and fundraising/stewardship for churches and other nonprofits across the country.