W (the Shepherd’s wife) wanted me to write about the budget stuff at church because there may be a day when I want to refer to it.
A year ago, I went to the elders with a concern about the church finances. We were consistently coming in $1000 a week under budget and I asked what we needed to do to make sure we were not digging ourselves into a hole. They sternly told me it was not mine to worry about.
I guess, in some ways, they were right. It was not as bad as it looked. We only spent $40,000 more than we brought in last year. That is almost 25% better deficit than I figured we would have.
Fast forward almost a year. All of the church’s reserves are gone and we are sitting in a budget meeting. M, the chairman of the elders, is arguing for an increase in the missions budget and the recommendation of the finance team is to keep everything else the same.
I begged them to reconsider. We worked for an hour or two and ended up trimming the budget deeply. I wanted it cut to the point of what we took in last year, but they decided to go for what we had last year plus $13,000 to demonstrate our faith. That amounts to about 5% of our total budget.
Our fiscal year started again the first of last month. The elders made a plea to the congregation and the first two weeks of the new budget year we made budget. The third week we were about $2000 under for the week and last week about $1200 short. We received an email from our treasurer saying we were now holding $2000 of bills that we could not pay.
So I sent a note to the elders that said, “We have to come up with a plan because we have a looming crisis.”
The answer from the elders….silence.
So I sent another email out simply asking for them to voice their plan. Nothing.
I know they have cut salaries in the past. I know that is on the line now. I know to catch our shortfall, it will have to be about 15%. Not pretty.