Open Forum on Finances
During the weekend of August 11 through 13, we held gatherings after each worship service in The Hub. During that time, I introduced our Finance Committee – the team the governing elders have entrusted with oversight of our budgeting and financial management.
Jim Dees, governing elder and treasurer, is the chairman of the committee. Other members include JT Almon, John Cortines, Glenn Garton, April Guenther, Cathie Mannion, Julie Meeker, Jason Rutland and Tim Wright. I am so grateful for the wisdom and dedication this group of primarily volunteers provides to our congregation. These open forums were far richer due to their participation.
I introduced these sessions with a broad overview of our budget for 2018 and a midyear report on our giving and spending. Based upon the work of our finance director, Glenn Garton, and the Finance Committee, I also included a forecast through the end of the year. While we did fall behind our giving projections early this year (March through May), we have been at or close to 100 percent of anticipated giving for the other months. Budget cuts and reduced spending during the first half of the year were presented.
We dedicated most of the time during each forum to questions, input and discussion. The most common questions centered on our mortgage loan balance, giving/attendance trends and long-term budgeting.
Our mortgage balance is currently $10.4 million, and we typically pay off $800,000 of the principal each year. While many attendees noted concern over the declining attendance and giving, we also discussed the signs of turnaround that are evident this summer. Longwood worship attendance for the vision kickoff weekends has been 500 people more than our average this year.
Our process of budgeting for next year will begin this fall. A significant aspect of that process will be formulating a plan for contingency costs, especially for building maintenance and repairs.
Another common theme in the forum was the desire to hear more stories of the impact of our ministries at Northland. Our communications team is committed to bringing an increased awareness within the congregation of God’s amazing work in and through our church and the tremendous impact in our community. Our preachers have been sharing some of these stories during weekend messages, but we will also continue to use video and other media to encourage one another.
Lastly, those who attended the sessions had various suggestions on how to encourage Northlanders to take the next step in their generous giving journey. Each of us can make a significant contribution – and it does take everyone to fulfill the calling God has placed on our church. Take that next step today as you offer your tithe to the Lord as a part of your worship!
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