November 20, 2019
Rev. William Bills
Budgeting and financial administration in churches is a mixture of science, art, prayer, and even a little bit of magic. Churches can reasonably predict their anticipated expenses for a given year. Like most non-profits or other businesses, churches can anticipate staffing salaries and benefits. They can anticipate costs for things like utilities, program expenses, maintenance and repairs. They can even make educated guesses about things like snow removal heating costs in the winter. The expense side is often pretty clear, unless of course a roof starts leaking or a roof top heating and air conditioning unit quits working unexpectedly.
The income side is always a little less clear. We can anticipate income based on peoples’ prior giving habits. That works for those who give electronically or use checks and or offering envelopes. We keep track so that people can have records for tax deductible donations. Some folks do the same thing from year to year but sometimes it doesn’t work to predict future behavior based on past experience. Employment changes, retirement, illness, job loss, or even death can affect even the most faithful givers in any church. Changing circumstances make the Estimate of Giving Card a useful tool for those who administer church finances.
The Estimate of Giving Card allows people in the congregation to indicate to the finance committee what they hope to contribute to the church in the upcoming year. It is very helpful whenever an individual, couple or family submits an Estimate of Giving Card. The card is not a legally binding contract. It is an estimate. It can be changed at any time depending on the giver’s circumstances. Filling out an Estimate of Giving Card helps the finance committee decide how much can be spent of staffing, programing, missions, mortgage payments and other expenses.
I know that some people routinely fill out the card from year to year. I also know that others would rather not fill out the card for any number of reasons. The card really is a helpful tool for those who administer the finances. All giving to the church is voluntary so we strive to be faithful and do the best we can with whatever is given. We never send late notices and we don’t turn people over to collections! We do appreciate all the gifts we receive. If you fill out an Estimate of Giving Card and turn it in to the office or put it in the offering plate soon you will greatly aid the finance committee as they plan the budget for 2020.
At University United Methodist Church, we affirm that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are an open and inclusive congregation and welcome all persons into full participation regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic situation, age, ability, education, background and whether single or partnered.