Thank you to the over 500 of you who joined the conference call last night on local church finances. We apologize for those who could not get on the call. We have posted a recording of the call here.
On the call we reviewed the following:
- Guiding values around church finances during this time (see below from Bishop Carter)
- Ways to assess your reality and reduce expenses
- Online giving
- Use of reserves and designated funds
- Possibility of tax credits for churches who pay employees through the Family First Act and loans from small business administration as part of the stimulus package
We also announced efforts by the Conference to reduce Conference expenses and provide relief for all of our churches (more details forthcoming).
Because of the fluidity of the situation and the interest in conversation around finances, we will host a second conference call on finances next Thursday, April 2 at 5:30 p.m. We will have 2,000 spots available for this call. Save the date and time and look for call-in information early next week.
We are praying for each of you during this time. If you have specific financial questions, please email Mickey Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guiding Financial Values – from Bishop Carter
- Assess reality and do not be reactive.
- Begin with generosity—appeal to the generosity of members and friends of your churches. Give people clear steps—one, two, three-- about how they can give online. And clearly state the need.
- At the same time, look for beginning ways to steward more limited resources, and communicate how you are doing that.
- Assess the big picture—are there reserves set aside for a rainy day? This is a rainy day. Are there designated funds for ministries that sit in a fund, and that ministry no longer occurs? Redirect those funds to the greatest need.
- Be generous at the personal level. Contribute more beyond a tithe to mission. Clergy or staff should start contributing more rather than reducing clergy or staff salary. Generosity leads to generosity. Reducing leads to reducing. Assume the best about each other.
- Try to make decisions that do not harm people. It is often easier to raise money than to cut staff. Again, state the need. Write three-five-seven people.
- We will get to a better place. We are taking life one day at a time. The recovery community teaches us this, as does Jesus in the sermon on the mount. Today, God provides. And tomorrow, when we live in that day, God will provide. Today we focus on today.