Counting the Cost: How much money does Holy Trinity need?

Stewardship Information Month, week 3

Jesus said, Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (Luke 14:27-30, ESV)

Although this teaching from the Gospel of Luke is about counting the cost of following Jesus, in making the illustration, Jesus gives credibility to the value of counting the cost of a project before committing to it. Holy Trinity Anglican Church is our long-term project. Every year, the vestry engages in counting the cost for the upcoming year. The treasurer, in consultation with the vestry, will project our expenses in meaningful categories based on known factors, estimates, and current experience. Then adjustments will be made based on anticipated income projected from past rates of giving and the good faith estimates provided by you through the pledge in-gathering.

Our preliminary projected expenses for next year is $166,000. A balanced budget will require $166,000 in ordinary tithes and offerings from the people, our only source of income. What has changed?

In 2012, we received $140,943 in tithes and offerings, and we ended the year with a gain of $11,550.  In 2013, if giving continues at the current rate, we project $145,140 in tithes and offerings for the year. But, 2013 is not the year for which we planned. We expect to end the year in the red with total expenses of about $170,000. Our extraordinary expenses this year have included the costs of supply clergy during the rector’s illness, calling a new rector while continuing to pay the former rector, and moving expenses. But, our real recurring expenses have also increased, especially with the cost of using two buildings for the full year which includes increased utilities, insurance, and maintenance.

 Focusing on our income needs for 2014, $166,000 is $20,860 more, 13.53% more, than the currently projected 2013 tithes and offerings of $145,140. This increase should be met by a combination of increased generosity on the part of our current members and growth in the number of pledging members.

Keep in mind that $166,000 is just the minimum projected amount to meet our ordinary operating expenses. With more resources we could do more – more ministry, more charity, more for the Kingdom of God in our little corner of His vineyard.

If we can count on more, we can carry out doing more most efficiently . For this reason, your participation in the stewardship campaign’s pledge in-gathering will help the vestry take control of the budgeting process and, in-turn, be good stewards of your gifts.

The Apostle Paul wrote, The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, ESV)

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