We had a great time on Monday, Feb 24 exploring some particular ways we’ve grown this past year as a community. We heard stories of some compelling fruit in a number of people’s lives. We also looked at the financial fruit we’ve tasted these past few years.
The apostle John said, it’s for the Father’s glory that we bear fruit (15:8). Good fruit comes from good trees planted in a healthy environment. In order to see more growth, we must tend the roots. To that end, we asked, “What are the environmental factors that produce good fruit?” What contributed to the fruit we experienced in WCV this past year?
Some of the answers to these questions are noted below. The first section looks at our financial situation. The second section documents the roots that were identified in the stories the 8 individuals who shared stories of fruit in their lives this past year.
Financial Commentary – 2013
1) We have a very generous church, with many people giving to WCV.
2) The growth in giving at WCV has been very significant over the last 4 years. In the last 4 years (since 2009) giving has risen from $335,000 to $428,000, an increase of 93,000 or 28%. This is a result of many things including increased attendance, growth in gifts from outside the church, as well as increased giving from some regular attenders of WCV.
3) Giving in 2013 was at a record level – giving of $428,000 in 2013 represented a $48,0000 increase over the $380,000 given in 2012. This is a one-year increase in giving of approximately 13%, which is very significant and positive.
4) The nature of the giving in WCV is that much of it comes in December. In 2013 $72,000 was received in December. While this is a normal occurrence, it does strain the monthly cash-flow of the church since expenses need to be paid throughout the year. The result of this back-end loaded income is that it can be very challenging to manage the monthly cash flow and expenses of the church.
Financial Commentary – Budget 2014
1) In 2013 gifts to the church from generous people outside our congregation totalled $50,0000. For 2014 we are budgeting this number to go down, since we have been made aware that $10,000 that was received last year will not be coming this year. We also know of some one-time gifts from regular attenders of WCV that will not reoccur this year. These facts have made us re-examine our budget for 2014 with the decision to decrease the budget slightly by 4%. So we are budgeting income and expenses for 2014 at $412,000.
It is important to note that a $412,000 budget is still a significant number and will actually require an increase in giving from the congregation to make up for the reduction of giving from outside individuals.
2) Reducing the budget in 2014 to $412,000 will require a reduction in spending by the church of $16,000 compared to 2013. This is difficult to accomplish because we have very little flexibility in our budget. The biggest items in the budget are the 30% fund (donations to Nepal, missionaries, the poor etc.) which totalled $120,000 in 2013, payroll which was approximately $200,000 in 2013 and utilities $50,000. All other line items in the budget are relatively small in comparison to these 3 large categories.
3) To achieve $16,000 in savings, we are reducing ministry/miscellaneous budgets by a total of $8,000 (this is made up of reductions to youth, breathe, sound, travel, miscellaneous expense), and payroll by $8,000 (representing a 5% decrease to pastoral staff). Cuts to the budget are not pleasant and if we had an easy or obvious place to cut that would not be felt we would do that, but the plain facts are that all expenses in the church represent important and worthy items, so any cuts to the budget will be painful. Our hope and prayer is that our income in 2014 will surpass the budget and that any cuts will be made up at year-end. If we do achieve a surplus in 2014 our first priority will be to repay the pastoral staff to make up for any lost income as a result of this budget cut.
4) The economic demographics of WCV are such that only a portion of the people carries the majority of the giving. We encourage everyone with the financial ability to participate fully in supporting the costs & ministry of the church.
5) Pre-authorized withdrawals for giving are very important for our cash-flow and management. We see a double benefit in doing this. First we can predict the cash income. Second it becomes a discipline that minimizes the risk of forgetfulness. We urge everyone to use this method of giving. You download a pre-authorized withdrawal form here, fill it out and place it in the offering bucket.
It is important to keep the right perspective when we are thinking about the budget for 2014. This course of action (cutting the budget) is not the result of a lack of generosity within the church. The facts (numbers) speak for themselves – giving is at a record level in the church and increased by a record level in 2013. The main issue we are faced with is how to maintain a balanced budget when there are so many needs and corresponding expenses within the church. Right now we are feeling that we are not in a position to increase the budget this year, given that the budget has increased so much over the last few years, in particular this past year 2013 and in light of the fact that we are projecting gifts from the outside to go down. So this will be a bit of a different year, with a focus on belt tightening and expense management. But let’s not be discouraged – we don’t think anyone would be surprised if 2014 was our best financial year yet. You never know what is in store…..
Personal Stories of Fruit and Root:
We had 8 people share stories of growth in their lives this past year. Listed below are the roots that were identified as significant contributing factors in each of these stories. If you’re interested in hearing the actual stories, the audio is posted here.
Andrew Chan – The Upstairs Gathering. The time and attention artists give to their art gives back to the viewer. The team who ran the Upstairs Gathering in the Fall. Creativity. The ability to envision something different. Time and attention.
Krista Heide – Study, reading and online resources. Giving space for something to grow. Teamwork generates more energy towards creativity. The Outer Circle.
Elias Rieger – People at the Kathmandu Vineyard put a lot of work into the youth trip. The giving of WCV towards the youth – fundraiser & funds budget. Funds budget (the 30%). Practical service. Wrestled through what they saw – lots of processing. Money towards Youth leadership (Jodi now administers all 3 youth groups – grown from one group).
Stephanie Martens – People giving to her and her girls in a variety of creative ways. Sticking with each other, knowing each other, knowing each other’s history. There are gifts in the dessert. Practicing excruciating vulnerability.
Naila Janzen – Persevering through the hard times instead of running away. Faithfully adapting, learning and rolling with the ups and downs of life.
Angela Falk – The Outer Circle process and her triad. The fruit in other people’s lives fertilizes the roots of others. The rich and fertile soil of WCV’s relationships. House Group. Knowing we will never be forsaken. Circles of sharing. Community.
Gord Holmstrom – Community, care and Flatlanders. People taking time to be with, love and live with him. Perseverance in school and staying clean.
Andy Wood – The faithful giving of WCV towards helping the Kathmandu Vineyard pay off their building. Just paid it off – frees up finances to re-boot the Mobile Bible School in the Himalayan Region.
In summary we want to say thank-you to all of the faithful servants who give so much in every way to the church. This is a wonderful, vibrant growing community that is spreading the gospel and advancing the kingdom of God both locally and abroad. There are so many good things happening here…. way too many to list. Lets press on into 2014 with a sense of expectancy and with trust that the Lord will meet all of our needs, as he always has.
The Staff and Board of Directors
The audio of the evening is posted here.