Finance Update

Kevin Urichko

This year is continuing to be a significant season of transition for Northland Church. One aspect of change has included the revisioning process that is currently underway. This process and updates to our vision are preparing us for the way in which God will continue to use Northland for His purposes in the future. This is creating a fresh energy around the church.

Transitions normally create a change in the financial stability of an organization. If you regularly check our weekly finance report in the worship guide, you already know that our offerings are more than $500,000 less than anticipated year to date. In order to adjust what we planned for 2018 to what the Lord is providing and make sure we don’t spend what we don’t have, several adjustments have been made.

First of all, the leaders of each ministry at Northland have been diligent in delaying or forgoing as much spending as possible. We have been careful to prioritize “mission-critical” expenditures and prayerfully consider creative cost-cutting measures. Toward that end, we have spent $219,398 less than budget for the first half of the year (through June). Much of this reduction has come from not filling budgeted staff positions. Glenn Garton, our finance director, has been a faithful and wise coach to our department leaders in this important process.

Secondly, we have used some of the money in our bank account. Just like Joseph in Genesis 41, we have made sure to store up some funds over the past few years. These reserves have enabled us to flex with the uncertain times. I’m grateful for the wisdom of our finance, operations and elder leadership over the years. They have been profoundly faithful. If our giving as a congregation continues at around 100 percent of expected giving, we will be able to replenish most of those reserves by the end of the year.

Thirdly, we have changed the way we communicate about finances. The recent congregational survey revealed that many of you do not sense a good level of transparency from leadership about finances. This was reflected in giving trends.

We made some announcements and gave some reports earlier in the year – giving during January and February was right at 100 percent of budget. We didn’t say much about stewardship during March, April and May – giving was at 80 percent of budget and resulted in our current $500,000 gap. During June and July, a concerted effort to engage our church family with the needs and appropriate information has resulted in giving at 100 percent of budget. Clearly, you appreciate open communication!

We plan to take this to the next level beginning in August with quarterly finance discussions through a “town hall” meeting format. Our first open forum on finances will be held in The Hub after worship services August 11, 12 and 13. I look forward to seeing you there!

Fourthly, at the recommendation of our finance committee, the governing elders have approved a budget reduction for the second half of 2018. You’ll begin to notice a change this month in the worship guide as our deficit is reduced due to our move toward lower spending, which is more in line with current giving.

Finally, August marks the beginning of a new era for the Northland family. As we “engage people to be fully alive in Jesus” while continuing to worship and serve our amazingly generous God, I’m so excited about what is to come. As the Lord continues to transform and mature us, I believe that His blessing on Northland and to the world through Northland has just begun. Your investment in this kingdom work is so valuable – your gift matters! This Respond paper is packed with stories every month about how your tithes and offerings are impacting real people, solving real problems, making the world a little more like heaven.

If trusting the Lord with your life and finances (tithing as an act of obedience and worship) is new to you, I encourage you to join one of our Compass groups or Financial Peace University (FPU) class this Fall. I want you to join me in experiencing the freedom and joy that come from letting God have the first word with respect to the money He has entrusted to you.

Along with the apostle Paul, let’s be able to declare, “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord … for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:10-13, NIV).