Faith Covenant, Budgets, and Balances
Posted on Sep 14, 2017 in Faith Updates
What follows is a writing from the Faith Covenant Council addressing one of the common questions leadership hears in this new season of ministry. We felt it would be helpful to address it and bring clarity.
How can we embark on a capital campaign when we consistently fail to meet budget?
This question, in one form or another, has been asked several times over the past few months as we have been deliberating about how to refresh FCC. Council believes the question may arise out of lack of a clear understanding of what our budget really is. Hopefully, this communique will clear things up. The financial health of a family, a business, or a church is definitively determined by how actual income relates to actual expenses. By that standard Faith Covenant Church is the picture of financial health, thanks to your faithfulness.
No, we are not consistently meeting budget. But we are covering all actual expenses, funding all ministries, supporting all of our missionaries, and compensating all of our staff and their benefits. Moreover, all of these expenses are being met on time. And, to top it off, we finished FY 2017 with a surplus of some $60,000.
There was a time, just a few short years ago, when this was not the case. We were neither meeting budget nor keeping current with expenses. Bills were prioritized to determine which got paid now and which would have to wait; support payments to missionaries were delayed; payments to staff pension funds were temporarily suspended. Our condition might not have been perilous but it certainly was not healthy. And this may be where the notion that failure to meet budget meant we were upside down.
That is certainly not the case today, nor has it been for the last two or three years. Pastor Brad says that he has never seen a church of our size that is as financially sound as FCC. In saying this, he also notes that our budget and staffing level is higher than similarly sized congregations. This just proves that the Lord has provided abundantly for FCC’s needs, irrespective of any budget comparisons.
So why pay any attention to, indeed why even prepare a budget? Well, Faith Covenant Church, like many of us in the congregation, uses a budget as a guideline for anticipated income, and ministry and operating expenses. It is quite simply an educated estimate, or forecast. It is imprecise as a result of seasonal variations in income; staffing changes; unanticipated expenses (such as a leaking roof!); anticipated one-time expenses that are budgeted for over a 12-month period but paid for one time when incurred; etc.
So the financial information appearing in the weekly worship folder is misleading in this sense: it compares a 4 week average giving figure to a 12 month average estimated expense figure. Recognizing this, Council is looking at how we can change what and how financials are shared to present a more meaningful picture. This is a work in process but we hope to have a helpful new format ready in the near future.
And always remember: if you have questions or concerns about our finances, talk to the church office or a Council member.
Here’s What’s Happening at Faith
Faith on The City
Faith has been using the online communications tool, The City, for several months. It is an important (private) place where our church family can connect and share. If you are not on The City, we want you to register! You can send us an email request, contact Lynn or Jen, or see staff in the lobby this weekend for more information.
Adult Sunday Grow Opportunities
All adults are invited to join one of two classes offered on Sundays at 9am at Faith. Both are open to be joined at any time. A class about the Attributes of God started September 10 – contact Heather for more information at email@example.com. The other class, which will study the Promises of God, will start September 17. For more information, contact Char at firstname.lastname@example.org. Either class is open to having people start late or miss weeks. Please join whenever you are able!
If you’re new to Faith Covenant and/or looking to connect here, plan to join us for a free lunch and delightful conversation with Pastors Brad and Char on Sunday, September 17 from 11:45am-1pm. Childcare is provided by reservation to email@example.com. Please contact Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org with dietary needs.
Pastor Brad will be leading an Alpha course this fall to train potential leaders and helpers for our winter 2018 Alpha launch. Alpha is a 12-week course built for skeptics, spiritual seekers and people new to the Christian faith. Each session involves dinner, a video presentation and a discussion group where all questions are welcome! Childcare is available. If you’d like to team up with us in building Alpha at Faith Covenant, contact Ellen. Alpha begins September 20 at 6pm.
Men’s Ministry Resolute Fall Study
All men at Faith are invited to join our midweek study, beginning September 20 at 6:30pm, that focuses on looking at Jesus as our example of how to be a man and disciple. This is a video-based series with small group discussion and NO homework necessary! Childcare is available (preregistration preferred to email@example.com). For more information contact Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women’s Ministry Fall Study
Women of all ages! We are excited to journey together this year in exploring what it looks like to live as a disciple of Jesus. Join us on September 20 at 6:30pm as we kick off the year with fellowship, food, and fun! Our study begins Tuesday, September 26 at 9:30am or Wednesday, September 27 at 6:30pm. Childcare is available for either study with preregistration – contact email@example.com.
Faith Membership Classes
Attention Faith attendees: If you’ve been here for a few months or a few decades and are interested in diving in a little deeper, consider attending membership classes! Fall classes are Sundays, September 24 and October 1 from 11:45am-1:30pm. Lunch is provided and childcare is available by reservation. RSVP to Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
20’s & 30’s Fall Kick Off
Join us September 24 at 11:45am for our fall kickoff event! We will gather for a time of food, fellowship, and fun in the lower level parking lot. All in their twenties and thirties – single, married, college student, careers, etc. – are invited to join, along with children and friends! Burgers, brats, hot dogs, and beverages will be provided – please bring a side dish to share. Please RSVP to Ryan by Wednesday, September 20.
Confirmation Class Informational Meeting
Parents of 8th or 9th graders and their student are invited to an informational meeting for Confirmation. If you would like to learn more about enrolling your child in this class, please come to the Legacy Chapel on Sunday, September 24 from 11:30am to noon. Older students who have not yet taken the class are also welcome. Questions will be answered and expectations clarified for this year long class that meets on Sundays from 9-10:15am. If you can not attend, but would like more information, contact Nick or Lynn.
Prayer Workshop – Does God Really Hear Me?
How do I talk to God? What happens when I do? Do you thirst for conversation with God, longing to hear from Him? If you’d like to deepen your intimacy with God and learn how to position yourself to hear from Him, join us for a FREE one-day prayer workshop with Kim Gustafson. Saturday, September 30, 9am-3pm. Lunch is included. RSVP to Ellen.
Please join the Council and your faith family for a quarterly business meeting on October 8 after the worship service. A short financial report will be given as well as an update to the refresh campaign.
Capital Campaign Prayer Team
During this exciting journey of refreshing our building we are looking for those who have a heart for prayer. We have started a Prayer Force Team to pray for the capital campaign and remodel through the fall. If you are interested, please contact Sharon Auldrich at 952.890.674 or via email. She would love to get you connected into a group that fits your schedule.
Infant Baptism/Dedication Parent Class
Parents: if you are considering either baptism or dedication for your little one, you are invited to attend a one-hour parent class to prepare your family for this special day. Our next class is Sunday October 1 at 9am. Baptism/dedication Sunday will be October 15. Note: a parent application needs to be completed and returned to the office by the Monday before class. Contact Ellen at email@example.com.
Covenant Pines Fall MEA Retreat
116 Student Ministries group will attend Covenant Pines for their fall MEA retreat, scheduled October 18-20 for junior high students and October 20-22 for senior high students. Go to covenantpines.org/retreats to sign up today!