Happy New Year! It’s January, which means we are at the height of Old First budget season. We in the Admin. SLG have been working hard over the past few years to improve our financial and cash management processes, and budget development has been a part of this effort.
We’ve welcomed other SLG leaders in joining us for “budget hammering” sessions as part of putting the budgets together each year, and we’ve developed tools to forecast Old First’s year-end income and expenses as we move through each year.
There are many things yet to be done, but we have worked to improve things a little each year. In addition to such initiatives as requiring multiple signatures on checks and implementing a streamlined accounts payable process, we have recently launched a major initiative to apportion both income and expenses across the high-level ministries of the church.
Why do this? Old First boasts strong leaders and innovative, dynamic and impactful ministries. The very best we can do is to give those leaders the tools they need to track and manage their own budgets and financial performance. Working with Michael, the Elders, Jill from the Wellspring SLG and other SLG leaders, we have developed separate budgets for Old First’s three critical ministries:
Ministering to Souls (“Souls”) — These activities include pastoring, choir and music, Christian education, traditional church services and membership.
Ministering to the Body (“Body”) — Included here are the service camps, homeless shelter and food and clothing cupboard and their administration (which includes buildings and grounds, office management, budget and financial management).
There are some expenses that cannot be so apportioned, because they are general administrative costs for running the whole church operation. These we have groups in a third category, Administration.
What difference will this make? It is hoped it will begin to move our financial record-keeping towards closer tracking, and our whole congregation towards greater agreement on the actual costs of our various ministries. This, in turn, will, we hope, generate a shared understanding of the fundraising needs facing our church.
In the coming days and weeks we will share more details with you regarding this new budget approach. It will, we believe, be easier to make sense of as soon as the final proposed budget is prepared, approved by the Elders and shared with the congregation. At the Congregational meeting, we will present the 2012 Budget as usual, as well as the three component budgets representing Souls, Body, and Admin.
Thank you for your willingness to consider the importance of our financial life together!
Larry Waddell, Admin. Group Leader