As you may know, Julia Puxley, our church secretary, has not been well for a while now. We are very grateful for the extra work that Roger Miles (assisted by Matthew Van De Broek) and Viv McGuinness have done to enable the office and our financial records to continue. Thankfully, we have also been able to recruit two part-time financial assistants to help us with our accounting system, “Sage” – Linda Stenner (a member of the church family) and Jo Arthur, a local minister’s wife. Both are being trained up to help us and we continue to pray for Julia’s recovery. Why am I mentioning this? Because of this situation we are slightly behind on our financial recording and communication. We have planned to be able to communicate to the church family our financial situation at this stage in the year, unfortunately this is not possible. That said, we do know roughly where we are. We are roughly at break even for the year 2017, it depends on whether some bills and income appear in 2017 or are to be incorporated into 2018 figures. This is very encouraging! It means that new givers and increased giving by the church family, has led us to a break-even position for the year 2017. However, we do expect a deficit of about 25k over the year of 2018. Why is this? It is entirely the result of givers who have moved away from us, for the best of reasons. Over the last 6 years or so, some really generous givers have moved away, and we have managed to plug a deficit of about 75k per year. We can give great thanks to God for this and for the way he has worked in our hearts to support the work of his gospel here. As you know, we have also cut our costs considerably by not replacing our youth worker nor our apprentices. Encouragingly we have about 31k ready for an associate minister and pledges of about 18k over three years. The subject of money can often create a range of feelings amongst us, guilt being one of them. This is not to be the way we are to consider our giving. As the scriptures teach, our giving is to be sacrificial, generous, grateful, realistic, loving, complete, without compulsion with encouragement and as an act of worship (2 Corinthians 8-9, Philippians 4). How can we give like this?
Of course, Jesus knows how our hearts are often swayed by what money can do for us teaching us to lay up treasures in heaven, not to serve money rather than him and not to worry but to trust our Father’s provision (Matthew 5-6). But the Lord Jesus also works in our hearts to want to give, not out of guilt or compulsion, but out of love for him and his work with confidence in his riches. So, we need not be discouraged by the deficit. It is an opportunity for us to trust in his riches! I am very keen that those already giving sacrificially and regularly, generously and thankfully do not feel that there is any expectation that they give more. It is up to the Lord to guide us. And neither do I want those new to the church family or visitors feel that they need to give! But maybe those of us who are newer to the church family but clearly settled as part of it may consider giving to the Lord’s work here. Do contact our treasurer Roger Miles at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him on 01206 396 477. And may we look to our Lord Jesus Christ for contentment and provision. As Paul says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
With much love in Christ, John.