Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our church, the Congregational Church of Batavia, has a long and proud history of walking the walk when it comes to being faithful stewards of the gifts we have received from God. This church understands that through Jesus we have received the greatest gift of all, unconditional love and forgiveness, and we share it. The many ministries of the church testify to our desire to spread this good news.
While our congregation strives to live up to the 2018 Vision Statement, “We are a Generous Church,” the reality is that we have struggled over the past several years to establish a budget that reflects our priorities. For example, up until 2012 the Outreach budget was roughly 10% of our total giving, while in 2016 it is less that 4% of our expected giving. In recent budgets, three undesirable trends have developed; (1) reduction of the Outreach ministries of the church, (2) counting on “fund raisers” as a source of income, and (3) the habit of coming back to the congregation with multiple “asks” to fund the annual budget.
Earlier this year, Stewardship and Finance began discussing these trends and came to the conclusion that we, as a congregation need to get back to the basics and focus on the spiritual and faith building aspects of giving. And that we should aspire to serve our Lord in greater and new ways, instead of limiting our vision by reducing ministries and pleading for money.
So we decided to change the process a little bit and instead of creating next year’s budget at the conclusion of the Stewardship Campaign based on the pledges received, we have created an Aspirational Budget prior to the campaign reflecting the priorities of each of our ministry teams. Each of the ministry teams in the church was asked what they would aspire do with a 10-15% increase in their budget for 2017. An amazing set of ideas was submitted and a few budgets were adjusted to put them in line with stated goals of the church. The result is a budget built on faith, one that will be a stretch, and one that we have the resources to achieve.
And finally, and this is a very important point, there will only be one request to make a pledge or commitment to the budget. We will not be coming back and asking for more this time. So don’t hold back to see how much more is needed, because we won’t be asking for more. The final budget for 2017 will be built on what is pledged and committed during the Stewardship Campaign in October.
Please pray that our hearts will be opened and that our giving will be truly generous.
Ed Werneke, Karen Kosky
Stewardship Ministry Team Leader Finance Ministry Team Leader