A Faithful Finish to 2018

Dr. Kevin Urichko

Can you believe that the holiday season is upon us? While I’m already getting excited about the “most wonderful time of the year,” our finance team and elders have been deeply focused on shaping our 2019 budget. It is a tremendous blessing to work with servant leaders at Northland who desire to be faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted to our community.

Once again in 2018, we have received a “clean” report and the highest accolades from our independent auditors. Northland continues as a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). We want you to be able to give your tithes and offerings with the utmost confidence in the biblical mission and financial integrity of our church. Special thanks go to our finance staff members – Brenda Beaver, Donna Gagnon, Cathy Klinshaw and Leanne Wynsma. They are truly a faithful and diligent team!

Coming alongside the finance leadership in this budgeting and planning season is our new chief operating officer. I’m pleased to introduce Kirk Leff to you. Kirk has joined our team following a successful career as an executive leader with McLane Company. While Kirk and his wife, Ruth, grew up in the Central Florida area, most of his 29 years in the grocery distribution business took him around the rest of the country. The Leffs have just settled back into Orlando this year.

During the 1990s, Kirk served as a volunteer at Northland, overseeing our parking team. He considers this time of serving others one of the most critical times in his development as a servant leader. Leadership development, team-building, mentoring and training others, as well as his financial acumen, skills in planning and diligence in execution, are some of his strongest qualities. I am so grateful for these gifts plus the heart for ministry that Kirk brings to the COO role at Northland.

One of Kirk’s first projects will be to help implement a new giving platform over the next two months. The simplicity of use and increased security measures will make it even easier for all of us to make safe, eternity-impacting contributions toward God’s kingdom work through Northland and beyond.

While Kirk and our finance director, Glenn Garton, help the staff set some spending plans for the future, we are also praying for a faithful finish to 2018 on the giving side. If you have been watching our weekly reports in the Worship Guide, you know that we are more than 9 percent behind in our anticipated giving. Even with the expenses we’ve cut and spending we’ve trimmed, our gap between giving and our budget is creeping back up to almost $500,000. This is a problem we need to address, and we need your help doing that. Kirk calculated that if we would have all increased our giving by just $5.60 per week this year, our gap would be nonexistent.

Just reflecting on recent moments in our church life, many things come to mind: God-honoring worship, great gospel messages, inspiring baptisms, a life-transforming impact through the LifeHope Childcare Center, Disaster Response teams, Student Ministries retreats and community events such as Trunk-or-Treat and Family Feast, not to mention our regular weekly classes, groups and children’s ministry. So many incredible stories arising just from these environments have been shared in our services recently. I want us to keep the momentum and not have to make drastic cuts in ministry plans for 2019. Yet this is inevitable without strong, sacrificial and generous giving as we near the end of the year. Are you able to consider extra giving beyond your tithe or regular offering so that we may continue the ministry God has called us to partner with Him in providing?

Know that God continues to use you – your time, talents and treasures – through the many ministries of this church to change the world, one life at a time. Your investment in the work of the Lord at Northland is a wise one! Please join Linda and me by prayerfully seeking the Lord and responding to His generosity in your life at this time of year. It’s not just the spirit of Christmas; it’s the words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, NIV).