By Pastors Dan Flynn and Justin Rossow
Although we had lower February giving than we had planned, our reserves from December and January have carried us through. Entering spring, our goal is to reestablish a healthy reserve and launch us into the summer months.
We know from our giving trends that the first quarter of any calendar year is historically low in giving. We plan on the end-of-the-year giving to carry us through the first quarter.
This year, our spending and revenue plan has fit into this annual trend. The end of the year giving was strong and helped us build up a healthy reserve. Additionally, January giving came in stronger than expected and sustained our above-average giving.
This year, February was not a strong month for giving. The reserves we had accumulated from the end of the year and January have been used to cover expenses. All three sites were substantially below our giving trends.
When we see a dip in spending, we ask why? What might lead to lower revenue?
A couple of things occurred during this last month. Throughout February, we have had major snowstorms that seem to hit us on Saturday nights and effected Sunday attendance. Add on to this a major gas leak at University Lutheran Chapel that forced us to cancel worship services for one Sunday. Lower attendance makes the lower giving understandable.
The good news is, because of the reserves we built up in December and January, we have been able to cover all of our fixed expenses.
Recent Trends in Light of Our Yearly Plan
We now face the reality that our reserves have been depleted. This is not yet a cause for concern. Most of this fiscal year we have been above our budget trends; now we have simply come into closer alignment with the trends that our Administrative Board researched for our yearly spending plan.
In fact, in a $1.6 million plan, our year to date (YTD) giving is within $200.00 of our projected revenue. And we are within $10 of our spending plan! That shows a real commitment to fund the mission of our congregation and outstanding planning by our lay leaders!
Our ministry in the St. Luke multisite is strong and healthy. We don’t need to let the ups and downs of giving patterns distract us from other exciting acts of generosity and mission. Since December 1, the Living Water land account has added over $64,000 to the Living Water building fund. The account now has over $101,000. This is exciting and worth celebrating!
We are on the verge of calling a new Minister of Discipleship on March 24 and a call committee is now being established to fill the pastor position at ULC. God is blessing our congregation and leading us forward!
Between now and Easter, we want to build on the positives happening around the multisite so that we can get back to having the reserves we need to fund mission and ministry through the traditionally lower-giving months of the summer. We are well-positioned to stay within our spending plan for this year and move forward with new ideas for engaging people with the challenges and joys of following Jesus with us.
What Can I Do?
Check out our YouTube channel. If you missed worship more than usual this winter, go back and check out some of the sermons online. It’s a great way to stay connected to your faith family, and liking or sharing a video on Facebook or Twitter is an easy way to invite others to experience some of what you love about your church.
Give Online. Again, missing worship doesn’t mean you can’t support the mission and ministry of your congregation. Set up a weekly gift and know that neither snow nor vacation travel will interrupt your regular offering.
Stay informed. Join us for the March 24 Voters Meeting. Catch up on the latest blogs. Take advantage of daily Lenten devotions. God is doing some awesome things in and through the people of our multisite! We want you to be a part of it!