For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28
Dear Friends in Christ,
This Thursday Message is more practical than theological. Well, perhaps that’s not true. Budgets sound pretty mundane and earthy. But for churches, budgets are about resources for mission and ministry. With good stewardship, churches can use their resources to glorify God and draw more people into a life in Christ. And good stewardship involves faithful discernment and plans. This means a faithful process of building a budget. How do we do that at St. Peter & St. Paul?
We start with our leaders of ministry, working together with vestry members and finance team members. The first part is discernment: what is God calling us to do? How is God calling us to pursue effectively our mission: growing disciples of Jesus Christ? How can we grow as disciples? How can we grow new disciples? Each ministry team prays and dreams about the year ahead and how God calls us and what good stewardship looks like. This part is discernment.
Then we ask: what resources do we need to do this ministry in response to God’s calls? Each ministry team develops a proposal that outlines the expenses that make up the proposed budget. These proposals are gathered together and reviewed by the finance team—in conversation with ministry leaders. Sometimes we know of other ways to fund the project; sometimes we realize more resources are needed.
Then comes your part. We look at the pledges that our members and friends have made, and we make choices about how to balance the proposals with our projected income, based mostly on our pledges. When pledges arrive later in the year, it becomes harder for us to discern and plan for the support of our ministries. The earlier we receive your pledge, the better equipped we are to make timely decisions and plan our ministry. Now is the best time to send in your pledge!
Some people are concerned about making a pledge—what if something happens and you can’t fulfill the whole thing? Remember that a pledge isn’t like a loan or a bill. It is a pledge—an estimate of what you plan to give. Please do your best to fulfill your pledge, but if you run into financial hardship, we won’t send bill collectors after you. Let us know and we can make an adjustment for our records. And let us know so that we can pray for you, and support you the way you help us support others.
Budgeting for a church is about good stewardship, and good stewardship is also about trusting in God for the future. As we have done our best to be responsible stewards, and as we have trusted in God, God has blessed our ministries and our finances so that we can serve him joyfully. Thank you for your part in helping us to be faithful to God’s calls to us as a community.
Yours in Christ,