By Gerry Champagne, Session Treasurer
Originally Published February 2015
Anyone under the age of 50 may not remember a book and subsequent movie with a very similar title, but I thought the title might be one way to get you read an article about something as boring as a budget! And I’ll be the first to admit that developing and approving an annual budget may not be very sexy, but it is important, and provides the Congregation with valuable information on how we intend to use the financial resources that have been entrusted to us to further our stated purpose of being grounded in God’s love, centered on Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to be a blessing to our world, our city and one another.
The first thing to appreciate about the budget is that it involves input each year from literally dozens of people in the congregation – pastors, elders, deacons, staff, and numerous committee members. If you look at our 2015 budget you will see the names of over 20 church leaders. Those leaders sought and obtained input from countless other members of the congregation. We are truly blessed by the active involvement of so many members of the Congregation and that is one of the many reasons that I believe makes Bethany so special.
We begin the budget process around Labor Day each year. We ask that each leader think and pray about where God may be leading Bethany in their area to further His kingdom. We then ask each leader to provide us with three numbers – a “maintenance” or bare bones number in the event that we determined that budget cuts are necessary; a “new opportunities” number which asks leaders to think about how they might want to employ funding at a level comparable to the previous year; and an “answered prayers” number that asks leaders to dream about how they would utilize an increase in funding in their area.
Input is received in October, but the development of the initial draft of the budget is put on hold pending the completion of the Stewardship campaign.
Once the campaign is concluded and we have a sense for what our revenue is going to look like for the following year, a draft budget is prepared. Session then meets to review and approve the draft budget. The draft budget is made available to the congregation for any input that members may want to provide. A meeting is scheduled for interested members of the congregation to ask questions or provide input. Session then considers congregational input and approves a final budget. The final budget is subsequently presented to the congregation at our annual meeting.
In my capacity as your current Treasurer, I provide Session with a report each month on how we are doing with respect to the budget that has been approved by Session. It has been a blessing for me personally to be able to serve as your Finance Elder and I welcome any questions you may have about the budget process or any other matters related to Bethany’s finances.