Friday, April 3, 2009

15 Months in... Where are you?

According to the government we began this journey into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in December 2007. That means we're currently 15 months into it, and it looks like things may have begun to bottom out. With that in mind I have to ask the question, "Where are you?"

Where are you personally, where is your faith community, where are your friends and neighbors? How badly has this affected all these various people in your life?

Where I'm currently serving the church council and finance committee seem to be in denial. They haven't acknowledged there's a problem yet with the church's financial picture, and have continued on as if nothing has happened. The most current information I've been able to acquire thus far dates to the end of February (check back from time to time, I'll update as I get new info). Our church leadership approved a budget for 2009 in the amount of $1,117,308 even though they knew that the pledges that had been received weren't even 90% of that amount. This made the budget line through February come to $186,218, with actual expenses at $170,135 and revenue at $151,211. Expenses were below the budget line as the staff has withheld their spending and are trying to do ministry with as little cost as possible. Even with this we aren't meeting expenses, and the congregation is being kept in the dark by the council.

Needless to say, this can't continue for very long.

The Sr. Pastor has tried to make church leadership realize they need to make adjustments and bring the congregation into the know, but to date they have refused to listen to him. So he's now worried that the church may be facing bankruptcy by the summer.

I'm curious about the rest of you out there. Are you dealing with a similar situation, or are your lay leaders taking the time to be frugal and working with your pastor(s) to help weather this storm?