Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cutting costs at church

At "Dear Lucy" a blog at the Financial Times, a manager writes that he's been getting grief for cutting coffee and biscuits, or was it tea. Some of the comments weren't sympathetic, saying it would make little difference. Our church earlier this year stopped offering donut holes at the coffee urn on Sunday morning. Maybe it's a rumor, but I heard the savings was $17,000 a year (we have 3 locations, 9 services, and lots of children whose parents don't keep an eye on the cups they fill up with donut holes). There was always a little collection plate for suggested donations, but apparently some didn't use it. Then I heard they also changed coffee brands, and saved another bundle. Then the huge shock came that affected our ministry (visual arts), but probably not a lot of others: they decided to go to a four day week, 10 hour day, and close the buildings on Friday and Saturday. Again--rumors, but I heard that's a savings of $50,000 just on utilities. These cuts have probably saved some jobs and/or programs. Maybe those Brits at FT just hadn't looked at food costs recently.

The real problem for church budgets, not only at our church, but your church, is the 80/20 problem--20% are giving 86.4% of the total donations to the church. Church Ethos, a blog, debates whether a tithe is commanded for NT Christians, but notes
    "if only the “committed” Christians (as defined in the research) would give 10% of their income there would be an extra $46 billion dollars a year for kingdom work in the American church alone. Again, regardless of whether or not you think people should tithe or that the church will actually be faithful to spend that money wisely…just think what that kind of money could do. A few examples given in the research reveals what that much more money could provide: food, clothing and shelter for ALL 6.5 million current refugees in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East or enough resources to sponsor 20 million needy children worldwide."
Or enough for donut holes and coffee at UALC, to keep the buildings open and enough to run our human service programs without government grants.

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