Our session recently made a motion to halt all non-essential expenditures within the church for the next 60 days. This decision was not made lightly. Session spent considerable time discussing our current financial position and drew from recommendations from our Property and Finance Ministry Team.
At our current rate of spending and congregational giving, we will have used all of the allotted money from our Foundation within the next three months. This would leave the last three months of the church operations severely impaired.
The reason for this shortfall is twofold. In 2017, roughly $20-35 thousand less dollars are coming from the Foundation to support the general budget. Meanwhile, congregational giving is at about 80% of what was budgeted so far.
In an effort to be good stewards of the financial resources we have been given, session decided to halt all nonessential expenditures for the next 60 days, hoping to alleviate cash flow concerns. The session tasked the program staff to decide which budget lines qualified as essential, and to monitor expenses for the next 30 days. The staff spent an afternoon deciding on each line in our budget.
The temptation during this time is to think “Man! If the rest of the church would step up, we’d be ok!” We think congregational giving is somebody else’s problem.
This year, Sara and I have committed to giving $1144 per month. I tell you this information for a number of reasons. First, I want to be transparent. Since I am asking you to consider your own giving decisions, let me be open about our own. Sara and I are considering what God is calling us to give in addition to this during these current months. To start, we have increasing our giving another 10 dollars a month, as a part of the Ten Dollar Campaign mentioned last month. Sara and I are considering what more we can do during this time, as well.
Second, Sara and I feel strongly that the ministry of this church is worth supporting. God has tremendously blessed us, our family, and our friends during our time here. We have seen first-hand that God is at work in the Presbyterian Church, and certainly also in our particular church. The ministry of this church requires financial, physical, and human resources to run. We want to do our part to make sure that it continues.
Third, this number is not much of a secret. Our congregation approves the annual salaries for Sara and me every year, and this number is 10% of the effective salary. Sara and I have sought to practice this discipline for the past eight years and God has been faithful through it all.
I’ve come to learn that God really can do more with 90% of our income than what we think we can do with 100%. Interestingly, this is the one place in Scripture where we are invited to test God. Malachi 3:9 says that we can test God in our generosity. God has proven himself to us. I invite you to see how God can work through you, too.
Austin D. Hill