Have you noticed the financial information reported in the lower right corner of the church bulletin each week? Some of you may have never noticed. Others follow the changes each week. We publish four lines of information in our weekly bulletin intended to provide a “snapshot” of actual giving compared with budgeted giving. Basically we’re trying to answer the question, “Are we ahead or behind where we expect to be so far this year?” FYI: The in-depth yearly budget is found on our website at: https://chsroanoke.com/our-budget/.
If you do follow these weekly numbers, you will notice a change from last week’s bulletin to this week. Instead of a significant $125k deficit in giving, we are now just $38k behind budget. What happened was not a sudden windfall in giving but rather a change in the way we determine the needed year-to-date income and how we report it. Let me explain.
There are two main ways to compute a church’s weekly budget number. Neither is incorrect and well-run churches we consulted use both methods. But, the two most common ways of reporting produce quite different results. What has been used so far this year is the “simple method” of dividing our annual budget by 52 to get an equal amount every week. However, as you can imagine, actual weekly giving has never been equal throughout the year.
Our annual giving is like riding a bike on Bent Mountain, we start out slow at the flat top (January), build momentum as we go and at the bottom (December), reach our peak speed. Historically, our weekly giving in January and February is noticeably low – we receive approximately .75x of the needed average monthly income – but in December we receive 2.5x more than the needed average monthly income. Or said another way, our ministry depends on huge giving in late November and December to meet our yearly budget and to insure we can continue to give 25-30% to missions.
The “divide the annual budget by 52” method is certainly easiest to compute but does not best reflect how our annual giving as a congregation actually occurs. Early in the year, using that method can create the appearance that our giving is significantly worse than normal. Our Finance Committee believes a progressive or “weighted” budgeting method may provide a better comparison, since it is in line with the pattern of our historical giving. Full disclosure, this method also has the potential to lull the congregation into a false sense of security that we are doing well in the fall when in fact we need and are depending on 1.75 – 2.5x giving in the last two months.
So, with all that background info and following our accountants’ and finance committee’s recommendation, budgeted giving in the bulletin will now use this historically-based giving method.
We will also create on an Excel bar graph visual representation that may help visual learners and non-accountants. We will add this graphic to our Enews and to our Giving page on the website; it will be updated at least monthly. We invite anyone with questions to contact our Church Administrator, Yolanda Childress, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 772-4915 x32. Transparency is and always has been our goal. Our prayer is that folks will continue to grow in generosity to God through their local church so we can be even more generous and effective in discipleship and mission.
+Quigg and Tim+