Did you know that God wants to talk to you about your school’s finances? Whether you are setting your school’s budget, establishing payment plans, or working with a student to meet that last payment deadline, Jesus is in it all and wants to lead you as you lead your students. Former BSSM Finance Pastor, Krystal Gowan, spoke at our 2018 Converge School Leaders Training and shared some profound insight into the heart of God and who He is, even in our finances. Remember, you are leading a supernatural environment and His power and authority is over budgets and tuition too! Invite Him into each step of the process.
Watch the clip below to hear some of Krystal’s message.
Finances can reveal what is happening in our hearts in such a unique way. It is important to model and teach students to go to Jesus about their tuition the same way they do with other areas of life. There is no formula in finances! Most student finance issues are directly related to tuition, but can also include financial issues in their personal lives (i.e. rent, utilities, car note, borrowing money, etc.). When pastoring students through a financial issue remind them that God has something to say about their situation and He will provide guidance to lead them through it.
What Did Jesus Say?
Ask your students to press in to hear from the Lord about their situation if they haven’t already. Knowing what God is saying is foundational to moving forward well. His voice silences doubt and roots us in His faithfulness and love. When it comes to tuition, if the Lord has told the student to attend school, then the student is in the right place. Encourage students to cling to the word of God with confident expectation. As the saying goes, “His will, His bill.” He will come through.
Is the Timing Right?
Another component of listening to Lord is timing. Many students apply and are accepted to BSSM, but have not spent time with the Lord discussing their financial situations. Some students choose to attend school with faith that God will provide the money the need for tuition and living expenses once they arrive.
God has provided money for students in miraculous ways! His nature is to be generous with us and to provide for all that we need. However, there are times when God wants to speak to us in new ways or partner with us in a way that is different than our original plan.
When students are accepted to school, we suggest talking to them about how they plan on paying tuition. This conversation will reveal if they have talked to the Lord about tuition or not. A good indication of if the timing is right for the student to be in school can be if they have a plan for tuition payments. While they have been accepted to school, this may not be the right season for them to attend. You can encourage students in this situation to sit with the Lord and ask Him for insight into when they should attend school. You can also consider holding a student’s accepted status for a year as an option for those who decide that “now” isn’t the right time.
There are students who are called to step out into risk of coming to school and trusting God to provide miraculously. There are others who are called to work to cover the cost of their tuition. There is another group of students who are being asked to wait a season or two before attending school, but students can only know this if they take the time to ask God about it.
Your Part + Jesus’ Part
We know that God is faithful. Sometimes, it can be a mystery waiting for Him to reveal how He is going to cover costs or answer prayers. However, we can trust that while we are waiting, He is moving on our behalf.
God is generous and lavish with His love and provision. Financial issues are never about the money. God has more than enough to cover all of the tuition and school costs forever. God wants to strengthen and develop us. Part of the process can look like stretching our capacity for partnership with Him. Encourage your students to identify what God is asking them to do. Again, for some students this can look like working during school, sending out support letters to raise finances, or others may be asked to wait without adding or changing anything that they are currently doing. Our role, and our students’ role, is to listen to the Lord and follow His guidance, even when it doesn’t make sense to us.
Setting Your Budget
Much of this post has focused on pastoring students through their financial situations. However, these same principles apply to your leadership team. Determining a budget can seem like a basic and functional task, but God still wants to speak to and through your school’s finances!
Before setting a budget for the year, seek God’s voice! Ask Him what He wants to accomplish this year and how finances play a role in that. While tuition does cover school expenses such as curriculum expenses, school retreats, building rental, utilities, etc.; avoid setting your budget solely based on student enrollment. Leave room for risk and Holy Spirit. Use our Budget Guide Tuition Calculator to determine your school costs. Ask God if this is the budget He wants you to work with. He may want to add to what you can expect to receive from students! And remember, God is faithful. When He speaks, He will make the path clear.
In the past, BSSM has allowed students to make tuition payments throughout the school year through payment plans. This meant that some students did not finish paying tuition until a month before graduation. However, we feel that it is important for tuition to be paid before the end of the first semester so that all funds are available for school year. As we mentioned earlier, student tuition covers your school’s operational costs. Without the money from tuition up front, meeting your school’s physical needs may become an issue. Additionally, tuition payment does not need to be a primary issue or focus for students throughout the duration of the year.
Consider your current tuition payment options. Are payment plans in place to add strength to your school or do they allow some unnecessary disruption to your school environment?
It is our hope that all shame and fear are broken off the topic of finances. We declare freedom, expectancy, and great joy over budgeting, tuition, and payments! We believe that God is going to demonstrate His authority and love powerfully through this area and we bless you to experience more of His goodness and provision!
Want to hear more from this session of Converge School Leaders Training? Access it on BSSM Equip!