Some thoughts on important values in a Church Budget
Budget not to survive the year but to save for future years
We must spend on things important to our values and goals. If we don’t spend on these things, we decrease our chances of achieving our goals. Therefore, ensure we are investing in that which will help us achieve our goals
Each dollar spent justifiable to achieve our goals
Spend with thrift and creativity. Do not take the easy route. Don’t make unresearched spending just because it is easier.
We do not always need the best, we need what will achieve our goals with maximum result and minimal spend.
In Exodus 16 we have the story of the ‘Manna’ coming down from the sky as a miraculous provision from God. This wonderful bread like substance was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. The interesting aspect of this story is that Moses told the people “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
It did not matter how much the people gathered, they had enough. God provided enough sustenance for them for that day. If they did not use what had been given for the day, try to store it, it went bad. Except on the Sabbath where miraculously the substance was preserved.
There is a real application for me in the above story. As a general principle God provides enough spiritual nourishment for the day, for the season. He speaks, he works, he challenges, he inspires. With what we need for that season.
The problem comes when we try to store up spiritual provision and hold onto it for the next day. It was good then, so I want to keep that, stay with that. The problem is that God provided for that moment, in that moment. And now, that moment has passed. Gods provision in the past provides hope for the future that He will provide when we need it next. But our relationship and ministry is always in need of provision for that day, because yesterdays wont suffice, unless we are stuck in yesterday.
Creativity comes and flows out of challenge. Some of the most creative people I know are those who don’t have much. They need to be creative, so they make out of the little they have.
My application is this, what God provides is to be used in that season. I often sense and receive words and thoughts flowing from creativity and a desire to hear from God. The temptation for me is to store those gifts from God up, to keep them. Sometimes, I confess, because I don’t trust that the next ‘manna’ is going to come. It is only as I use that which God provides for this season that I make room for that which God is going to provide for the next season.
On the Sunday just gone we had a Baptismal service at Inglewood Church.
Two months ago our pastoral team set a date for Baptism and said if we get one baptism, we will do it. One person came and said they wanted to be baptised so we started advertising the date. We had a further 4 people come and say they wanted to be baptised.
On the night before the Sunday I had someone ring me and we chatted and they too wanted to be baptised, so that made 6.
The service was amazing, a real sense of joy and God active in peoples hearts. After I had baptised the last person I felt really convicted to ask if there was anyone else who wished to be baptised. Two more people, on the spot said yes they wanted to be. I asked them to come forward and they shared their testimony. It was amazing.
I also said to people that we still have the baptismal (we hire a spa) and if anyone wanted to be baptised at our evening service, come and let me know. Two people did. Their stories were authentic and wonderful. So at our evening service I baptised them.
It was an incredible, spirit filled day. Probably one of the best in my 23 year Pastoral ministry at Inglewood Community Church.
One of them is a double walled coffee cup, not cheap, which is made for coffee. It has a serviceable handle but more importantly is designed so the heat from the coffee does not scald your hand.
The other is a simple glass, strong, but not insulated. Which would you prefer. Now the reality is that we all want a good tasting coffee. A scalding hot coffee will not be the best tasting one. Here
So the need for a double walled glass is actually superfluous. If you have a well made coffee, you don’t need it. In terms of enjoyment, I want to feel the warmth from the glass as I sip on my double shot macchiato or whatever I’m drinking.
Its the same with my faith. I want to feel what is happening. Those who argue for a purely rational faith, based entirely on the mind, are ignoring the reality of how God has made us. With emotion. And experts tell us many of our decisions are based on our emotions. Those emotions can often determine how we interpret the situations we are confronted with, and therefore how we behave.
Feeling compassion drives us to implement justice, sensing awe drives us to worship, empathy drives us to listen. For some Christians I wonder if the overriding aspect in their faith is actually fear. They fear how they truly feel, and how truly being open to God would make them feel, and therefore behave. Which is not to say we should be tossed in the wind, influenced by how something feels. But how we feel should be part of the discussion, and there should be no shame in that.
Today someone reminded me that 12 months ago my Church, Inglewood Church, held its last service at the Bob Daniels Centre.
Our Worship Pastor Jess sung this song at our opening service a few short weeks later.
It was a wonderful occasion. This song is a beautiful rendition of the story of Jesus’s transfiguration, when the disciples were fortunate enough to have a peek of Jesus glory. How awe inspiring it would have been to experience that.
Our churches transformation over the past 12 months is obviously nowhere near as dramatic as that incredible moment. Still, it is worth celebrating and remembering. God is good.