For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. [O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!]
Now that the first quarter of Bethlehem’s 2010 fiscal year is completed, Executive Pastor Sam Crabtree asked me to provide a brief overview of our current finances, as well as an initial description of an upcoming TCT funding campaign. Here are some likely FAQs and my best-attempt answers:
Question: How are we doing financially, regarding progress toward meeting our 2010 Church & Missions (C&M) budget?
Answer: God continues to graciously meet our financial needs. Through the end of March, $1.95M was given toward our 2010 congregationally-approved C&M budget of $9.25M—so giving is about 10% above last year. Thank you for your ongoing support of Bethlehem’s many local and global ministries—including financial support for nearly 100 global partner families.
Q: How much is needed in each of the remaining three quarters to meet our 2010 C&M budget?
A: To meet anticipated budget expenses of $9.25M, a little more than $2M is needed in each of the next two quarters, and $3M in the fourth quarter. Your financial support of our many ministries through the upcoming summer months will make us less dependent on a large “hockey stick” this Fall.
Q: How do we allocate funds given to our C&M budget?
A: That query is usually answered with two different budgeting perspectives:
The traditional view of the budget (“50-30-10-10”) devotes about half (50%) of the budget for staff costs (similar to many other evangelical churches in the US), 30% for Outreach and Missions, 10% for Building & Property (including South Site leased space), and 10% for all other departments and programs (Family Discipleship Dept, adults, worship, IT, media, etc.).
The ministry view of the budget (“1/3-1/3-1/3”) takes all the staffing costs and “embeds” them in their various departments (a better indicator of overall Bethlehem support for a ministry area), with about one-third (37%) of the budget for Outreach & Missions (Global Outreach, Neighborhood Outreach, Campus Outreach, Outreach Support, etc.), one-third (34%) for Ministry (FDD, Adult, Worship, etc), and one-third (29%) for Operations (Building & Property, IT, Media, Finance, etc.).
Q: What is TCT? How much have we given to TCT in 2010?
A: Treasuring Christ Together (TCT) is our ongoing strategy to fulfill Bethlehem’s mission through a multiplying movement of campuses, new churches, and a Global Diaconate. The TCT Fund is a separate fund from our C&M budget, with contributions this year approaching $250K. This is enough to cover monthly campus mortgage payments ($50K), contribute about $25K each to our Church Planting and Global Diaconate funds, and make a small (additional) payment against our mortgage balance.
Q: How much has been given to TCT since it was launched in 2004, and how much debt remains?
A: Over $8M has been given to TCT over the past six years. This allowed us to buy and complete the North Campus, launch the South Site, and buy property downtown next to our parking lot. We have about $7.5M in current debt.
Q: Considering recent discussions about finding, purchasing, and developing a South Campus, how would this impact Bethlehem’s campus debt?
A: The Council of Elders created a TCT Funding Committee in 2009 (co-chaired by elders Todd Rasmuson and Klaas Van Zee, with Cleon Engel as staff campaign coordinator) to launch a capital campaign that hopes to raise funds for a 24/7 South Campus and pay down significant portions of our current debt. At the most recent All-Elder meeting on April 6, the elders passed three motions that will be brought to the congregation this year:
- Initiate a special multi-year (30-month) TCT capital campaign beginning in 2010, with a financial target of raising $18M over and above our annual C&M budget during the length of the campaign.
- Modify current TCT “80-10-10” fund allocation for campuses, church planting, and Global Diaconate to “90-5-5” allocation (which, God willing, will raise more funds for church planting and the Global Diaconate in the campaign than TCT has raised in the last six years).
- Reaffirm our desire to maintain our self-imposed $10M TCT debt cap.
Q: That seems like a lot of money. Is it possible to raise that amount, in addition to our $9.25M C&M operating budget?
A: It is a big goal, but we have a bigger God! To compare, Bethlehem launched its “Education for Exultation” (E4E) campaign in 2000 to complete the Downtown Campus. During the four years of that campaign, we gave an additional 35%, 70%, 20%, and 55%, respectively, over and above regular giving to C&M, and the building was completed debt-free.
Q: How can I learn more about this TCT campaign?
A: The TCT campaign is in its planning stages—please pray for Todd, Klaas, Cleon, and the campaign team and process. Also, plan to attend the All-Church Quarterly Strategy Meeting on April 25 for more details.
Q: What’s the simplest way to review my current contributions to Bethlehem ministries?
A: Your financial contributions can be reviewed at any time via our “Giving” page. It also supports one-time or reccurring contributions. Please note that credit card giving incurs a 3% processing charge. We encourage e-check giving (very small nominal fee) as a better way to steward God’s resources than “donating” a 3% portion to credit card companies.
Giving and dreaming with you,
Jon Grano, Lead Pastor for Operations