This has been a good year for our church. We have some new people in our congregation. Though we have also lost some old friends. Your session has been working very hard at finding the future of our ministry at First Presbyterian. We will be having New Members classes starting in February. Over all I have a great sense of hope for our church.
We have also had to deal with some long standing problems. For several years we have had trouble maintaining 5 people on Session, so this year we reduced the number to 4. We did this so the nominating committee would not be burdened with the constant search for a 5th person. This year we also are making some needed budget cuts. These cuts do not reflect a lack of giving or a change in giving, but a rearranging of priorities in our church.
First some facts about our church. Since 2000 our church has been on a steady downward slide from 170 members in 2000 to 76 members in 2016, which works out to about 6 members a year. Over this same time our expenses have risen from $95,000 to $117,000. These two things together mean that the cost of running the church has risen from $600 per member in 2000, to $1400 per member in 2018. At the same time that our church has gone from 170 members down to 76 members our staff, pastor, secretary, custodian, and pianist have stayed the same. Very few churches of 70 -80 members have this level of staffing.
Our income is a testament to the giving people in our church. Our giving has been about 114,000 a year since 2007.
The difference between our income of $114,000 and our budget of $117,000 has been handled by not spending money in the budget designated for Mora Mission and Outreach, along with other areas. The result is that we do not spend money in areas that would bring our church growth. We want to change this so that we can make these items in the budget a priority. To do this we will need to cut our budget to equal our income.
At this point we have chosen not to change our staffing at the church. We have made the choice to cut salaries by 10% instead, with the hope that through our missions and outreach we will grow our church to a membership that can support our staff.
These cuts will be a sacrifice on the part of all of our staff.
How should you respond to our budget cuts? First don’t feel like we are failing, this is just a realignment to fit income to goals. Second maintain or increase your giving, so we can carry out mission and outreach. Third, find ways you can reach out to people in our community. Invite people to come to church, talk with them about your faith. Earnestly pray for the growth of our church and for people in our community to come to faith in Jesus.
I believe in our church, I believe it can and will grow! I believe in you the members of our church. Kathy and I believe in the future of this church so much that we not only give our tithe of 10% of what we earn to the church, but now we are giving another 10% through this pay cut, back to the church.
Believe in Jesus and Believe in your church! Working together we can and will Grow!