Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trusting of Figures

Last night our Finance committee got together and planned out the 2010 budget. This is always an interesting process because I think it truly gives a perspective on what the church finds important in the life of their ministry.

To add to the mix, this is the second year in a row that we have done a stewardship campaign for the general budget. Last year was a watered down version of the full blown version that we did this year, New Consecration Sunday (NCS) Program. In year past, they set the budget and then hoped it would come in. All that was in the budget was the bare essentials, light bill, water bill, salaries and apportionments. There was very little for ministry and missions.

After our NCS this year our estimate of giving was up by 22%. Now I still haven't been able to pick my mouth off the ground yet but I was really curious how this budget planning meeting would go now that we have an estimate of 22% more money coming in. There were some ministry items I wanted to have added and some others wanted.

What unfolded last night was a very peaceful planning process. At the end our budget increased by 10%, still 12% off from what is promised, but I'll take a 10% jump any day. People were very hesitant on that number they received from the NCS. Could they trust that number? Could we put ourselves out there, 22% higher than anything we have spent in the past? I am happy with what we came up with, the reason, we started to fund ministry. We now have Vacation Bible School fully funded through the budget along with some of our other Children ministries.

But here is where the rubber meets the road in our faith. If the numbers are demonstrating people's joy and excitement about the ministry and life of our congregation, then we should trust them and we should trust that God will provide. If in January 2011 we see that our numbers were right about the 2010 year, then we should adjust our budget for 2011 and start even more ministries.

If we concentrate on being the congregation God is calling us to be for our community and world, than the money will come. But after years of the focus being on "are we going to make it," it is hard to turn that ship. It takes time and proof and lots of faith. As 2010 hits, we take another turn on the wheel and step out on faith.


Jeff Trexler said...

That 22% figure is indeed noteworthy. Congratulations for being on the + side of the line.

For comparison, you may be interested in the new Alban Institute study in the current state of religious giving:

Unknown said...

Jeff, thanks for the link and the comment.