Narrative Budget, First [XXX] Church 2009

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A Narrative Budget for First [XXX]Church

        The children in our midst,

                             the mission at our doorstep,

                                                a place of hospitality and grace.

         A Narrative Budget is a description of the actual ministries that are under way at a church. It is a Mission-Driven Budget that asks the question, “What is the shape of the ministry to which God has called and equipped us?” Asking and answering that question equips us to pray, individually and collectively, about how God is calling us to contribute to the efforts and goals of the church.

A Narrative Budget lets us look at who we are in a concrete manner. It shares our understanding of where God is calling us so that everyone can appreciate the importance of his or her time, talents, and gifts in the ministry we tend. It then asks us to project forward our prayers and plans for the next ministry year. To contextualize [this congregation’s] Narrative Budget, we will examine our ministries through the lens of the three areas of our vision statement: The children in our midst, the mission at our doorstep, a place of hospitality and grace.

The Narrative Budget

The Children in Our Midst

Ministry Staff

We currently employ a Senior Pastor, an Associate Pastor, a Choir Director, an Organist, a Bell Choir Director, our Director of First School, two teachers at First School, Children’s Attendants for Sunday mornings, a Wedding Coordinator, a Concert Coordinator, a Church Business Administrator, an Administrative Assistant, two Custodians, as well as many dedicated unpaid Lay Servant Ministers.

          Of our Staff expenses, approximately $251,315 per year go to fulfill this ministry.

Council on Ministries

The Council on Ministries (COM) shepherds a diverse set of ministries, many of which nurture children. COM supplies curriculum and supplies for Sunday School and provides us with ways to communicate, like Insights, advertising and our website. Worship supplies and program support for Young Adult ministries all come under the umbrella of COM.

Of our Council on Ministries expenses, approximately $11,850 per year go to fulfill this ministry.

Physical Plant

As much as we know “the church is not a building, the church is the people,” we are stewards of a sacred space in which we may praise God and equip one another for ministry. This is certainly true to the extent that we utilize our facilities in ministries to the children. We don’t think of a safe and well-equipped physical plant as a substitute for meaningful, Christ-centered nurture and care of children and youth. Instead it is an indispensable component of that vital ministry. The state of our building and facilities is a testimony to our commitment to provide service within the campus of our church. Our vision for the future is that the church building be kept faithfully. [In our denomination], our own heritage provides numerous examples of a people engaged in God’s work in the world, using built structures as launch points of ministry.

          Of our Physical Plant expenses, $74,400 per year go to fulfill this ministry.

In total, we currently budget $341,138 per year (45% of total) to fulfill ministries to the Children in Our Midst.

We would like to grow this ministry by __ % in the coming year.

                                                 

                                                  The Mission at Our Doorstep

Council on Ministries

COM also supports the local and regional missions of [First Church]. Our work as the hands and feet of God in healing ministries is a testimony to our neighborhood and our region of our commitment to share the grace of God which we have ourselves received.

Of our COM expenses, $11,500 per year go to fulfill this ministry.

Connectional Ministry (Apportionments)

        We are a connectional church projecting a commitment to our ministry in and beyond [this city] and [area] through our shared ministry [in this] Conference. Of every dollar we give, approximately 80 cents remain within our conference boundaries, providing clergy benefits and pensions, educational grants for future ministers, and parish development assistance. The remaining giving is gathered together with the giving of our sister churches throughout the connection to provide ministries of witness, healing and justice in places and ways we could never reach on our own.

Apportionment giving is a distinctive of United Methodism. It is a cornerstone of our missional identity and a defining witness to our Wesleyan tradition of ministry beyond ourselves.

        We currently budget $54,930 per year to fulfill this ministry.

In total, we currently budget $66,430 per year (9 % of total) to fulfill ministries to the Mission at Our Doorstep.

We would like to grow this ministry by __ % in the coming year.

A Place of Hospitality and Grace

Ministry Staff

Worship truly is the “front porch” of our community presence. People come seeking the Living Water of God’s grace and justice. How they are received, welcomed, and nurtured in their discipleship is the result of a coordinated effort by staff and lay servant ministers alike.

          Of our Staff expenses, approximately $251,315 per year go to fulfill this ministry.

 Council on Ministries

Adult Christian Education opportunities, Family Ministries, Coffee and a Chat, Summer BBQs in the Park, and other ministries of hospitality and fellowship, make [First Church] a valued asset in the lives of the many who have been led to our doors by God.

Of our Council on Ministries expenses, approximately $16,650 per year go to fulfill this ministry.

Physical Plant

Of our Physical Plant expenses, approximately $74,400 per year go to fulfill this ministry.

          In total, we currently budget $342,647 per year (46% of total) to fulfill the ministry of a Place of Hospitality and Grace.

We would like to grow this ministry by __ % in the coming year.

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Narrative Budget Twin Towers 2008

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TWIN TOWERS [XXX] CHURCH: How Our Tithes and Offerings Are Used to Make a Difference 

Twin Towers [XXX] Church budget for 2008 is $237,744.  That equals $4572 per week.  In addition, we give to other ministries not included in the budget.  We have identified four categories that briefly describe our church activities and ministries.  Expenses for pastor, administration, program, building and other personnel are interwoven into the four areas that represent who we are and what we do as a church.

Worship and Spiritual Growth                                                            $94,723  (40%)

Your support provides:

Worship on Sundays.  Preaching.  Excellent music.  Loving Christian Education for children, youth, and adults.  Literature for Christian Education.  Bible study classes.  Dedicated choir and bell choir. [women’s] programs.  United Methodist Men’s ministry.  Special seasonal worship.  Facilities for church and community use.  Special spiritual growth opportunities.

Fellowship and Membership Care                                                      $112, 360  (48%)

Your support provides:                                                                                                          

Pastoral visitation, counseling, crisis intervention, hospital visitation, weddings, funerals, administrative oversight of committees that shape the ministry of [this church].  Caring visits by lay people.  Loving childcare during worship and other occasions.  After worship fellowship.  Special functions for fund raising and fellowship including the annual rummage sale and Last Blast of Summer.  Upgrade and maintenance of the church building.  Monthly church newsletter.                                                                

Community Outreach                                                                           $20,441  (9%)

Your support provides:                                                                                                        

Outreach programs into the community such as interfaith cooperation, pastoral care and crisis counseling beyond this congregation, ministry to the women’s shelter, Volunteers In Mission programs, building use by outside organizations and faith communities, Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project, ministerial education, newspaper ads, special offerings for victims of disasters

Our Connection                                                                                   $10,220  (4%)

Your support provides:                                                                                                                

[Our denomination] is a “connectional” church, organized and working together at all levels: international, national, state, district and local.  This area of our budget represents our participation in this total effort.  Missionary support. Disaster relief.  Women and children issues.  Health and welfare ministries.  Pastor and lay participation in Annual Conference and District meetings.

Where the money comes from. . .                                                                                        

During this current year about 63% of the funds which keep Twin Towers United Methodist Church in ministry will come from 62 households who pledged a total of $144,480 this year.  Other sources of income include non-pledged giving, building use fees, and fundraisers.

 

 

GPS

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CompassPrinted maps are mostly a thing of the past. These days, many people depend on their “GPS” – Global Positioning Satellite – to get to their destination, particularly if it’s to a place they’ve never been before. A lot of folks depend solely on their GPS for guidance anywhere.

So I was intrigued when I heard a different reference to a GPS recently while I was worshipping online at church of the Resurrection (cor.org). Pastor and preacher Adam Hamilton 1 mentioned the GPS available online as well as in COR’s different on-site locations. In this case, “GPS” stands for “Grow, Pray, Study.” It’s a weekly guide that comments on daily Scriptures and provides a prayer to go along with the sermon topic. It also suggests a related family activity for the week, and names individual prayer requests.

Various churches may have personal study guides to follow-up on weekly worship topics, but I like the GPS metaphor. Individual reflection and prayer each day not only tell us specifically where we are in relation to God and others in this world. It also helps us move closer to where God wants us to go. As stewards of the lives God has given us, we’re meant to keep moving toward our goal. (See Hebrews 12:1-2, 12-14.)

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

1 – Hamilton is also the author of several books, including Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity, a great stewardship resource. See a review of this book under the “Resources and Reviews” category.

A Generous Eye

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DREAM 2 NIGHTMARE 1Jesus’ parable about the eye as the lamp of the body (Mt. 6:22-24) contrasts a healthy eye with an unhealthy one. The healthy eye illuminates the whole person, he says, whereas (as one commentator puts it) the unhealthy eye creates double vision, making the entire person “full of darkness.”

Double vision – that’s a powerful metaphor. For the churches we belong to and seek to lead, there can be a lot of double vision: confusion about our specific purpose as a congregation or ministry. This is especially true when we have a long history of trying to do everything. The saying fits with Jesus’ next parable, about the inevitable conflict when a slave has two masters at the same time. No matter what our roles in life, we can have only one absolute loyalty.

But I was surprised when I saw William Barclay’s translation of these verses: “So then, if your eye is generous, the whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is grudging, your whole body will be in the dark.”

Now that’s intriguing! It can apply to us personally. Whenever we look upon the world, other people, and ourselves through a generous eye, we can see God’s generous acts, God’s grace, people’s gifts and the giftedness of life. But when we view life grudgingly, we see everything through a jaundiced, jaded perspective.

May you look at life with a generous eye!

Betsy Schwarzentraub

Discernment

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CHOOSE DIRECTION 1The wild turkeys are a source of endless fascination for our two dogs, who see them almost daily on the morning version of our country walks. The younger dog is always on a leash, but the older one is voice trained, which usually holds even with wild animals.

But coyotes are another matter. Both dogs have a distinctive bark to warn the world of a predator on the prowl, also telling the coyote in no uncertain terms to go away. When there are two or more coyotes, though, it’s another matter: the dogs still bark, but we make sure they don’t get loose. Our 110-pound older dog found that out the hard way a couple of years back, when two coyotes flanked him coming back out of the woods, as he ran flat out back up the hill for home.

For human beings, discernment of friend versus foe is not always that clear. Thankfully, God’s Word can help us make important distinctions, not just about ally versus enemy, but in subtler aspects of life, as well. Hebrews 4:12 says God’s Word is fine-tuned, able to distinguish even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Yet the trick is this: recognizing God’s Word when we hear it in the midst of all those competing life messages. May you listen for it regularly enough to recognize God’s Voice when it really counts.

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

Stewardship and Culture online course

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I’m excited to be teaching an online course from mid-January to mid-February, 2016 on “Stewardship and Culture: Building Contagious Generosity.” Sponsored by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and TransformingTheChurch.org, it features four audio-video presentations over four weeks with an interactive Class Forum. We’ll also hold three conference calls: one on Jan. 11 (to give a week to learn how to navigate the site before the assignments begin), one on Jan. 30, and one on the final day, Feb. 13.Ecumenical Stewardship Center

The course will explore how aspects of our North American culture influence our practice of stewardship and giving. Students will frame critical questions about consumerism and God’s vision of sufficiency, recognize the impact of technology and marketing on consumerism, and begin to create an intentional Generosity Plan for their congregation. Topics include critiquing mainstream-culture assumptions about achievement and individualism, redefining themselves from consumers to stewards, shifting their focus from “the market of one” to hands-on community work, and strengthening a culture of generosity within their faith network.

The common book for our time together is Christine Roush’s Swimming Upstream, but I’ll reference some other outstanding resources as well, for use in church study groups and to put into an intentional Generosity Plan for the students’ congregations. While the presentations, questions and assignments are set up to begin Jan. 18, all of the material is available now, to be explored on your own time. The last day to sign up is Jan. 21.

I hope you’ll join me in this course, so we can participate together!

Your partner in ministry,

                                                     Betsy Schwarzentraub

Top Ten Ways to Increase Giving in Your Church

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fire-heart-2With the New Year upon us, now is an excellent time to look at the overall strategies of your congregation to encourage generous giving. Thankfully we can build on learnings from the Spirituality and Giving Project, 1 which studied 1,157 churches of more than two dozen denominations about what motivates members to give, and what influences them to increase their giving. The churches were rural, urban and suburban from both the U.S. and Canada.

These were the top ten most effective ways to increase giving in a congregation. They are:

  1. Connect individual giving directly to the spiritual life of each person.
  2. Begin practicing stewardship education as a twelve-month process which involves children, youth, and adults.
  3. Encourage tithing or proportionate giving.
  4. Let people make pledges and regular gifts to more than a single fund, encouraging rather than discouraging designated giving.
  5. Provide opportunity for people to give from both checking and savings.
  6. Promote special offerings more effectively.
  7. Encourage the pastor to be actively involved in stewardship education and fund-raising.
  8. Send more frequent financial statements to members and constituents who support the church.
  9. Emphasize the mission and vision of your church rather than the line item budget – and remember that people give to people and God, not budgets.
  10. Help people give through their wills, living trusts, life insurance policies, and similar means.

As you put together your church’s Generosity Plan for this year ahead, you can start with this “Top Ten,” assessing what the leadership does well and what one or more things you can improve, to help grow more generous-hearted givers.

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

1 – Study conducted by Christian Community, which published The Desires of Your Heart: Financial Giving and the Spiritual Life (1997: Christian Community, Fort Wayne, Indiana), by Holly Carcione, Steve Clapp, Kristen Leverton and Angela Zimmerman. The authors listed these ten strategies on p. 22 and used them as the subjects of each of the book’s chapters.