One of the most difficult things to discuss in the church is money. I think there is a natural skepticism within our culture that has been seeded by stories of Pastors/Leaders misusing funds, the ever-increasing bad press that the church gets in the western world, and the simple fact that we all have plans for our family budgets. The first two factors are a bit of a bummer but are sadly part of the world in which we live. The last one can, at times, be assaulted by things outside of our control. Still, a tension abides.
To put things plainly, November wasn’t the best month in the world for LCC financially. We are not in danger of locking the doors, but I have always found it best to be upfront with individuals. You see, this is the time of year that we consider next year’s budget. Ministry leaders will take a step back, look at the calendar, and plan ways to impact the Kingdom. Everything from weekend retreats, curriculum for Children and Youth, and being ready in case an A/C unit needs to be replaced again is all taken into account. With that, we have a call to stewardship of our resources. We take the dreams of the ministry groups and run them through the filter of making wise decisions with our blessings.
Realistically, there are a number of factors that have an impact on giving. We know that a number of you were traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday. We know that November is the month where a lot of people get serious about buying gifts in advance for Christmas. We know that we have just been through a major leadership change and some may still be waiting to see what this new guy is all about. However, the actions and decisions that we make have an effect for better or for worse.
One of the things I love about LCC is the willingness to partner in practical ways for advancing the Kingdom. We have a commitment of 18% of our budget to Missions—this is huge! We ask good questions in light of building usage and improvements. We seek to manage utilities well, in light of our mission. Longview Christian Church has a firm grasp on the brokenness that we have been called to make whole, but to meet some of those needs it will take resources.
I know that this is not a surprise to many of you. We understand the call placed on our lives to live generously and sacrificially. We understand the ramifications of Christ’s explanation of the Widow’s Offering captured in the Gospels (Mark 12, Luke 21) and how it raises the level of expectation placed on each of us. From a Kingdom standpoint, how we track these next couple of months helps to inform what the next year will look like in planning. This is just a simple encouragement and reminder to finish 2016 well.
Thank you for your service!
Longview Christian Church
P.S. — From a practical, household standpoint, we still have a couple of Sundays to make our final charitable contributions for the 2016 tax year.