Reflections from Pastor Erik: The Fun of Budgeting (Really!)

In early September, the Finance Committee met for a Budget Work Meeting. Our purpose in that meeting was to set the budget for Jan.-Dec. 2016, guided by projections of income and expenses for the current year (2015).

The administrative work of the church is rarely described as fun or enjoyable, and the tedious task of church budgeting is no one’s favorite way to spend an evening. But budgeting is important and essential work for two reasons.

First, it’s important to review what we are giving and spending throughout the year. We often talk as a committee about being good “stewards” (caretakers) of the money given. When we give, we expect the church to use those tithes and offerings responsibly for what is needed. God expects us to do the same.

As the Finance Committee reviewed giving and spending through 8 months of 2015, we celebrated our findings. During the summer months, when many churches experience a “low point” in giving, Avery’s giving increased! We made up ground on some outstanding payments from earlier in the year, thanks to over $7300 so far from one time “extra” gifts and three fundraisers!

We also found several areas where we are saving on expenses this year. One of the largest areas is administrative and office expenses. A more organized office has led to keeping better track of inventory, so we no longer make unnecessary orders of supplies. Additionally, we have cut down on paper, printing, and postage costs by using e-mail for some distribution of newsletters and other mailings. This alone has saved us several hundred dollars already!

Another reason why church budgeting is essential is that it provokes our imaginations for future ministry. When we consider how much we need to budget for different areas, we begin talking about how that ministry area is going and how we may work to improve it next year. In many places, we celebrated the growth of God’s work through Avery already. In other places, we dreamed and prayed for new ministries and revitalization of existing ministries.

In all areas of the budget, we balanced what we can afford to do with a desire to challenge ourselves to grow and expand our reach for the sake of Jesus Christ. As we did, the meeting did become fun and enjoyable: we discovered that with cost-saving moves in 2015, we can expand ministry in 2016 without increasing the overall budget!
So, the Finance Committee is responding to your trust in our stewardship by not increasing the budget for 2016. We are excited to announce that the 2016 budget for Avery UMC is set at $164,395: a decrease of $1,148 from the 2015 budget!

This is possible because of your giving. It is possible because of the hard work of the Finance Committee, church staff, and people helping with fundraisers. But above all, it is possible because God is doing great things through Avery UMC so we can be in ministry for current and future generations. Ephesians 3:20-21 says it best:

“Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.”

Dive Into Deep Blue with Sunday School!

Children’s Sunday School is getting an update! This year’s curriculum is Deep Blue, a weekly adventure through the bible which includes exciting stories, crafts, animated video storytelling, and fun activities. Additionally, a mobile app is available to reinforce the lesson throughout the week in an enjoyable way. There are also take-home daily devotionals for your family (click here to download), with incentives for completing them!

Our Deep Blue Adventure begins on Sunday, September 13 at 9:15 am. Your child will NOT want to miss out on this exciting new adventure. All children in Preschool through 5th Grade will be using this curriculum, but in age-specific classes. Learn more at deepbluekids.com.