Dear Everyday Church family,
Someone once told me that to do something once in church was innovation, to do it twice was to make it a habit and to do it three times was to create a tradition. Well by that reckoning these finance updates have become a new Everyday tradition!
We said back in April that we want to create a culture of Transparency, Accountability and Generosity around our finances, both personally and as a community. So let’s unpack those a little this time around.
In some cultures people are very happy to talk openly about money, in others such talk would be considered totally unacceptable. This diversity can even be true within a marriage or amongst a friendship group depending on the family culture in which we grew up. Jesus seems to have a transparent attitude to money. He was happy to challenge the rich, honour the generous and be so close to the offering basket that he knew exactly how much the widow had given that week (Mark 12:41). We want to be appropriately open about our finances. This means, at a church level, that we publish our accounts on the charity commission website each year and as a leadership team we are always happy to answer questions on our finances. In the first instance if you have a question please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
On a personal level transparency means being able to have open conversations about our finances with a few of our friends. We do not need to talk to everyone about our money, but it is healthy if all of us have someone who we could chat to, or allow to challenge us on our finances.
This is especially important in this season. We know it is tough for many right now. Please reach out to someone if you are feeling the pressure. They may not be able to help personally but they will certainly be able to walk with you and help you find help. We are blessed at Everyday with those who have wisdom and training when it comes to the financial challenges that we all experience. If you are struggling please don’t get isolated – reach out to your life group, your life group leader or a trusted friend.
There are lots of calls on our finances. Some real, some created by the marketing juggernaut that is social media! The key in managing our finances well is to be accountable to the Word of God. When Jesus encourages us to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6) he does so in the context of the pressure and worry created by material goods and the god of Mammon that lies behind these anxieties. Our first level of accountability is always to God’s guidance on how we handle our money. You can find a summary of this guidance in our “Money Matters” booklet and in the resources section of the Everyday Church App.
As a church, accountability means stewarding the money we receive well and updating the membership on the state of our finances. Here is the latest summary:
|January to September 2020||Budget||Actual|
You can see from these numbers that unsurprisingly our giving is significantly lower than we expected. However, you will also note that we have reduced our expenditure by an even great amount, resulting in a small deficit overall. Of course this drop in expenditure has not been without real cost as we have had to implement some of the measures identified in the previous finance updates.
Thank you to all of you who have continued to give through this tough season. We so value your continued commitment – well done and keep going.
As ever, this is a very simple summary with lots of information, hard work (and spreadsheets) sitting behind these numbers. If you have a more detailed question please do contact me.
Many books have been written on the Bible and Money. Some get very involved in the nuances of percentages and amounts. What is very clear in scripture is that we have an unbelievably generous God and we are called to imitate his generosity. Generosity is a spiritual gift, but it is also a sign of spiritual maturity. It truly is better to give that to receive.
As a church we continue to be generous. We have given away £85,000 of our regular income so far this year as well as £50,000 through our special offering in March. It would be tempting to give ourselves a big pat on the back and settle for those amounts. However, we want to be especially generous in the season. Therefore we are holding our second Special Offering on November 15th.
In March we committed to give to organisations who we don’t normally give to and who are primarily focused on the nations. This time we want to give away to organisations with whom we already have living links. We also want to give to areas that we believe will be increasingly important over the coming months as we go through the challenges of Covid.
We are going to give to the following movements or initiatives:
Everyday is part of the Newfrontiers family of churches and within that family we connect with the Newground sphere under the apostolic leadership of Dave Holden. Dave spoke at our Wimbledon venue back in March and will be speaking again at our online service on November 15th. We are committed to being an active part of Newground and to supporting all that Newground is doing in planting churches and caring for the poor in London, in the UK and in the nations.
Sutton Community Works https://www.suttoncommunityworks.org/
We never want to lose sight of God’s heart for the poor or the fact that we have people in our locality who are trapped in poverty. We already have active links with Sutton Community Works through our Sutton venue and specifically through David Featherstone who is a trustee and Caroline Richards who heads up Sutton Street Pastors. We want to invest in SCW ongoing work with the poor and we are especially excited about their desire to create a Food Pantry and develop their job club work.
We have numbers of Everyday members across different venues actively involved in their local foodbanks. We want to give additional support to these foodbanks to help in this upcoming winter and Christmas season.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
We believe that passages like this one in Galatians give a biblical mandate to pay special attention to those who are struggling within our very own church family. We know that the outworking of this mandate is often unseen as people reach out to care for one another across the church. Thank you and well done. However, there is also the need for a strategic church wide response. Over the last few years we have allocated a portion of our annual budget to help Everyday members who find themselves in financial difficulty. However, we realise that many people are not aware of this resource. Given the challenges that may lie ahead for many of us, we want to boost this fund and raise awareness so that we can offer support when needed.
Our plan is to give 50% of what we give on the 15th November to Newground and then to split the other 50% across the three local initiatives.