Preparation for our 2020 budget is underway. It may only be October but it takes time to coordinate the budget needs of the various areas of our ministry.
This is always a challenging process. This year, however, is significantly more difficult. Our giving has not met our budget for several months. We are not by any means in a financial emergency. We have ample reserves to cover the shortfall.
What This is Not!
This is not an appeal for additional giving. While worship attendance has declined over the last twenty-four months, per-capita giving has significantly increased. You are a giving congregation and your giving is done generously. This is not an appeal to give more but an explanation of the budget modifications that must be considered.
Giving guides our budget. Our philosophy is quite simple: we consider the resources God has entrusted to us and we control spending so as to not create a financial crisis. This approach has worked very well for twenty-five years.
- Staff compensation makes up the largest portion of our budget, true for any organization that does not manufacture or sell a product. The church has generously covered insurance and has fully funded health savings accounts for each of our pastoral staff. The skyrocketing cost of insurance makes that an unsustainable practice. I fully anticipate reductions to staff compensation.
- The second largest area of our budget involves our facilities. These costs are generally fixed so there is little room for reducing expenditures here. We will continue to be good stewards of our facilities and will perform needed upkeep or maintenance.
- Missions will always be a priority in our budget. Our goal is to designate ten percent of all budget receipts to outreach events and support of our faith partners. We will not entertain reductions to our current missions commitment.
- Giving to our “Debt Free in ’23” effort has has doubled in recent months. Eliminating debt will remain a firm priority, but giving to debt retirement should be in addition to, not in place of, budget support.
Our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He owns the hills, too. He is more than capable of meeting every need we have. Pray for those who are wrestling with the challenging decisions regarding budget preparation.