By Justin Rossow

Back in December, St. Luke Lutheran Church passed a six-month ministry plan and budget for the congregation that includes both Living Water and St. Luke-Ann Arbor. Living Water is planning a chartering worship service for Sunday, April 17. The financial transition will continue into the spring, but will likely be complete before our fiscal year ends on June 30.

The ministry plan passed in December focused on healthy transition, investing in new leaders, creating a seedbed for vision, and ongoing discipleship. (You can review the ministry plan and budget for our current six months here.)

The spending plan (budget) for this second half of the fiscal year included carrying over an anticipated $30,000 of revenue from the first half of our fiscal year. The first half of our budget cycle, which includes Christmas and any year-end giving, has historically included more than half of our annual donations.

Now that we have closed the books on 2015, we can say that the giving surplus we have traditionally experienced in December did not happen this year. There may be many reasons for this, but we can certainly say the multisite was in the midst of significant change, and that change seems to have affected giving.

The good news is that, although income was below planned levels, expenses were down even more. So we have the surplus we planned on carrying over from the first half of the fiscal year.

Moving forward, we are currently tracking two sites income and expense rather than three. The giving and expense numbers are now in for January and February, and both giving and expense are right on target.

Our planned giving for both sites in the first two months of 2016 was $189, 397. Actual giving was $185, 509. We budgeted $34,000 of spending above income for the first two months of this fiscal year, and we actually spent $1,632 less than that. So over that two-month period, we are within 1% of being exactly on budget.

That kind of alignment is a blessing from God and speaks well of those who helped with our financial planning as well as those who continue to give generously and faithfully.

From a financial standpoint, St. Luke and Living Water together are right on target. As Living Water takes final steps toward chartering as a stand-alone congregation, we will continue to monitor our giving and expense. We want to ensure financial health for both congregations while our most important focus remains on being the kind of faith community Jesus is calling us to be.