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One of Those Times…

Pastor’s Word

This is the first church I’ve ever been to that never talks about money!”  This is a direct quote from a Hope regular who is now with the Lord.  Although their statement is largely true, there are times when we need to talk about money, and now is one of those times.  Sometimes it is from a stewardship/obedience perspective…what do we need to be doing as individual followers of Christ in terms of giving and stewardship?  Sometimes it’s from a resourcing perspective (our current moment)…what does Hope Chapel need in terms of resources to faithfully do what God is asking?   We have always trusted that if the people of Hope are sincere in talking to God about what they should give, Hope would have all it needs to serve the Kingdom.  That trust has been well placed over the years.

Given that trust, I feel compelled to share with you some current reality and ask you to take it to God in prayer.  We are currently 1/3 of the way through our fiscal year.  We anticipated that our current budget would be a challenge and therefore started out with a conservative approach to expenditures and currently are under-spending our budget by about 10%.   But even with this we are experiencing about a  $20,000 deficit in terms of gifts vs. expenses.  This amounts to 1.5 weeks of budget requirement ($14,840/week), so in many ways its manageable. We have also prepared well for times like these, so no need for a crisis reaction.  But it does deserve our prayerful attention because it is an unusually high amount for us at this point in our fiscal year, which begins July 1.

To fuel your understanding as we take this to the Lord consider these realities:
  • It costs $15,9201/month, that’s $524/day, just to keep the doors to the building open (mortgage, utilities, up-keep, long-term maintenance fund, etc.). This will drop considerably when our mortgage is paid off, but that is 4-5 years away.
  • Our mission budget is $8011/month or $263/day.  These are funds we invest in the Kingdom outside Hope Chapel. I believe our faithfulness in this area is part of why God has chosen to bless us over the years.
  • Serving people through our ministries (Kids, Teens, Deacons, Life Groups, Admin Costs, etc.) costs $8,658/month or $285/day. Since people matter to God, every penny is worth it.
  • Hope’s Personnel cost is 47% of its budget.  This covers all employer related cost like salaries, medical/dental/workman’s compensation/life insurance, FICA, retirement contributions, etc. for Hope’s 3 full-time, 6 part-time and 2 summer intern positions.  The “experts” say a church Hope’s size should not exceed 55% of budget, so for being located in an expensive area of the country, we are doing well.  But it is still a big nut-to-crack as it comes in at about $350,000.  The percentage of budget and actual personnel cost reflect the twin commitments of Hope being a good steward and a good employer and clearly a part of why we have been able to keep good, spiritually mature staff for the long-haul.
  • Overall this produces a budget of $751,000/year or $2,057/day.
That’s challenging for sure.  God’s solution to meeting that challenge has always been His people.  He may own the cattle on a thousand hills, as the good book says, but He has given them to us to manage.  We don’t hold church yard-sales or fundraising dinners or to fund our ministries.  We give. We give because we love God. We give because He tells us to. We give because doing Kingdom work in this world takes money. We give because it makes an eternal difference.
As I said before, we have always trusted that if the people of Hope are sincere in talking to God about what they should give, Hope would have all it needs to serve the Kingdom.  I ask you to have that conversation with God.  Some questions to consider…
  • Does your giving reflect how much God matters to you?
  • Does it show that you are trustworthy with what He has given you?
  • Does it show you are committed to investing in what matters most?
  • Is it sacrificial?
 Talk to God honestly, do what He says, and Hope will be fine and you’ll be blessed. I know so from personal experience.  Christina and I have had that talk many times and now the largest single item in our monthly budget is our giving. And it feels great!

Blessings.

Neal

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