2014 Budget: Dollars & Sense

Money never stays with me. It would burn me if it did. I throw it out of my hands as soon as possible,

lest it should find its way into my heart.  ~ John Wesley

Over the next two weeks, the congregation will be addressing the 2014 budget. Some of us will see it as a bunch of jumbled numbers that, to be honest, mean nothing to us. Some of us will want to look at every line of the budget and try to make a judgment about whether or not we have identified the perfect number for the line. Some of us will listen to others assessment of the document, hoping to gain insight from them about areas unfamiliar to us.  And some of us will look at the bottom line, ask some questions and then make a decision. So what is a good way to look at this document?

There is no perfect way to approach the budget document. The numbers and charts that you will see are not perfect themselves. They are the best guess that can be made at this point in time with the information we have. I would like to suggest that we not look exclusively at the DOLLARS during the conversation, but include a SENSE of where this church is heading. Here are a few ways to approach the budget that might be helpful in renewing our health, hospitality and home. 

*The Stewardship Board invested a great amount of time this year starting a year-round stewardship campaign. They started the Because of your generosity. . . moments, and people have responded. They have responded by sharing their story, and being moved by other people’s stories. People were asked to consider what could all be done in and by the church as they pledged and people responded with their 2014 pledges. Pledges have increased from $471,038 in 2013 to $490,627 in 2014. The Board has focused on Transforming Worship, Ways to Nurture our Faith and Witnessing through Mission.

*More adult education programs have been offered on Sunday mornings, and people are responding, with wonderful attendance.

*The church has a website and facebook presence that is inviting people to participate in the great work that is being done by this church community, and people are responding.

*More groups are being offered like the Men’s fellowship, and people are responding.

*Every Sunday the church has visitors who are “church shopping” and want to know how they can join, so people are responding.

*The church is adding more outreach opportunities, like Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), Just Bakery, and the potential for more, and people are responding.

*The staff, with input from members, continues to focus on how the worship experience can be meaningful, and people are responding.

*The church has a new heating system (that works!), air conditioning in the summer, and hopefully by fall will have a newly painted building.

First Congregational United Church of Christ is ALIVE and WELL! People are responding in very positive ways. The church is making every effort to live out Jesus’ call to love our neighbor. The church continues to offer new programs, marketing strategies and community involvement to grow our congregation and take our mission to the streets. First Congregational is using its dollars wisely to move in exciting directions to grow the church. The dollars are important, there is no argument, but we don’t want to forget about the sense of where we are headed.

A plan you work on in the morning may be outdated by the afternoon…Focus on execution over planning. – Developing the plan for growth is fun because planning does not have a cost.  Execution requires a price to be paid.”   ~ Alison Levine

(Levine has scaled the highest peak on every continent and also skied to both the North and South Poles. In 2002, she led the first ever women’s expedition of Mount Everest. If anyone can teach us something about going to the next level and new heights, it’s Alison.)


~ Eldonna Hazen


Posted on February 4, 2014 at 1:27 pm in Featured Content.

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