On Sunday, July 29 we held our annual business meeting as required by our By-Laws. At the meeting we discussed the financial reports for fiscal year 2017/2018, we passed the proposed budgets for both HCOG and HCA for the new fiscal year beginning August 1, 2018, and we ratified Pam Cody to serve another 3-year term on the Board of Trustees. Everything on the ballot was approved unanimously. Corporate Chairman Tino Elisara led the meeting very efficiently. Questions were raised and, hopefully, answered in a satisfactory manner. By all accounts the meeting was successful.
Now comes the challenge.
Last year we approved a church budget projecting an income of $244,909. This includes $18,000 rental fees from El Redentor, $30,000 from HCA for operating expenses, and $3,600 from miscellaneous income. The remaining $193,309 was budgeted income coming from our worship service offerings. As of June 30th it seems that we will not meet our expected income for the year.
At the same time, however, our expenses are less than expected, and after 11 months of the fiscal year the church is $13,358.04 in the black. This would usually be good news, but we need to understand that $11,800 of this surplus comes from no longer paying a salary for our Associate Pastor.
This year we approved a budget of $240,489.04. Our budget projects spending amounts in the following
$ 15,525 for administration costs
$ 40,700 for building and grounds (includes all utilities)
$ 6,000 for Christian Education
$ 3,000 for Hospitality and Fellowship
$ 17,116 for insurance, fees, and property tax on the parsonage
$ 3,000 for music and worship
$ 18,600 for outreach and missions
$ 3,750 for parsonage repair and water
$ 1,500 for youth group operating expenses, and
$131,048 for salaries, benefits, workman’s compensation insurance, and employer tax liabilities
for the pastor, associate pastor, business manager, administrative assistant, and church janitor.
I call attention to all of this because this is the budget that we, as a church, have approved. This means that we have committed ourselves to meeting this budget by providing the resources needed to operate the ministries of the church. What resources am I referring to?
- Time. In order for a church to function properly and efficiently its members must be willing to sacrifice a portion of their time for its ministries. In today’s culture we are more willing to write a check to pay someone to do the work God has called us to do voluntarily. When we invest our time we also invest a part of ourselves in the work/ministry. Giving of our time means rearranging our schedules, reorganizing our priorities, and being willing to be inconvenienced. But when we are all willing to make this sacrifice God will build unity within the body, ministries will function at full strength, fellowship grows, and we will see the fruits of our labor.
- Treasure. This is the spiritual way of saying, “It is going to cost money.” By approving this budget we also made the commitment to providing the financial resources needed to operate the ministries of the church. We all want an associate pastor to oversee the children/youth ministries. We all want the technology of our church to be updated. We all want our building to be maintained and cleaned properly. We all want our outreach ministries to increase. All of this takes time and money. This is why Scripture calls us to give. I know there are some who will argue that the mandate to tithe (give 10% of our income) is not a New Testament teaching. While that may be so, we can certainly argue that the New Testament calls us to give 100% of everything. I’ll let the Holy Spirit tell you how much to give, but if everyone gave $20 a week we would not be able to pay our bills.
- Talents. This goes along with time. The Holy Spirit has given each of us spiritual gifts to be used to build up the church and to reach the lost (Ephesians 4:11-13). There are things in the church that God has created specifically for you to do. Whether it is visitation ministry, outreach ministry, children’s ministry, youth ministry, music ministry, technology ministry (computers, sound room, etc.), maintenance ministry, teaching ministry, etc., God has gifted and called you. God designed the church to operate at 100% capacity. If only 50% of the folks are committed to using their God-given talents to bless others we will never be the church God designed us to be. Sadly, 50% would be operating at a much higher level than most churches.
This letter is not an appeal for you to give more time and money. Well, maybe it is a little. But the purpose of this letter is to invite you to pray about giving of your time, treasure, and talents to the Lord. These all come from God and they belong to God. He simply gives them to us so we can use them to continue Jesus’ ministry of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. Please ask God to give you direction on your giving, and be willing to allow God to stretch you. There is no doubt this takes sacrifice. The only question is how much are we willing to sacrifice so we can be the church God has called us to be?
No matter how you slice it, the church operates by people volunteering their time, giving a portion of their treasure, and being willing to use their God-given talents to do God’s work. When we are all willing to do this we will be amazed at what God can, and will, do.
Your servant in Christ,