Every year the members and friends of TUMC give with extravagant generosity. The past four years your generosity has supported an increasing ministry budget, completed several needed capital projects, launched new missions and built a comfortable reserve fund.
This past summer, given notice of a larger-than-normal slump, you responded with the largest July ever. In November we invited each other to align with God’s economy through The Thanksgiving Tithe. Less than a month later, communication began regarding the continuing gap between budgeted and actual income: $695,000 was needed by December 31 to fully fund all 2016 mission and ministry .
Many of you helped reduce that shortfall by almost 70%. After factoring in some intentional underspending for ministry throughout the budget, we ended with a net shortfall of only $134,650. This week the finance committee voted to cover this deficit from reserves.
It is the practice of your staff and Finance Committee to base each year’s budget on realistic expectations of income. Given last year’s decrease in pledged and unpledged giving, revenue anticipated for 2017 will be the actual income for 2016: $2,677,296, a reduction of $237,405.
We have much to be grateful for in 2016: another year of increasing fruitfulness in worship attendance, discipleship formation and hands on service to neighbors far and near all the while enjoying a look back at TUMC’s first 70 years.
Now we welcome 2017, even the reality of reorienting our spending for ministry. The hard and holy work of re-forming the budget is an opportunity to look forward to TUMC’s next 70 years as we pray for Spirit’s leading, center deeply in our mission and cast our vision toward loving Jesus in thought, word and deed.
I am excited Stewardship Season is upon us in this heightened awareness of the importance of offering our support to the church and our stewardship to God. I know that our 40 Days of Prayer are preparing our congregation for another year of extravagant generosity, compassion and community.
I’ll see you on Sunday,