When we look at the world today, in many ways, we find ourselves in turbulent and unsteady waters, not the least of which is financial stability. SMLC has always been financially solvent which has allowed for the church to operate and carry out its various ministries at a fairly consistent level. Not all congregations have been able to continue to operate in as consistent a manner as St. Matthew’s, for various reasons. That being said, even St. Matthew’s has had to do some belt tightening over the past several years.
As we move forward in 2023, we find rising interest rates and inflation, resulting in higher prices at the grocery stores, gas pumps and pretty much everywhere else you look. Everyone has taken a financial hit recently. This was reflected in our financial pledges for the year. As was recently reported at the annual congregational meeting, our operating budget for 2023 came in approximately $39,400 short of what was forecasted to be needed. This dollar amount equates to approximately an 11% shortfall of where we need to be.
The operating budget encompasses much of what the church does. When initially pondered, most think of all of the internal and external ministries that St. Matthew’s operates and supports financially. And they’d be correct. Serving others by assisting so many ministries is the cornerstone of St. Matthew’s mission and of paramount importance. But there are many other facets of the operation that go unnoticed or considered financially. We rely so heavily on our dedicated staff and the facilities that serve our congregation. How often have you sat in church and thought about the staff’s financial compensation, the upkeep and maintenance of the building or something as simple as keeping the lights turned on or HVAC system up and running?
All of these services are vital to ensure that St. Matthew’s endeavors continue, uninterrupted. We need to do more, or do better at the ministries that we’re already carrying out, as well as making sure that the behind the scenes stuff is supported as well.
What we are asking everyone to consider is to give a little extra to make up the difference and close the gap so that the budget can be balanced. The added offering could be used to sponsor different aspects of St. Matthew’s overall operation.
The $39,400 goal covers our mission and ministry expenses of:
- Christian Learning & Formation to support our Sunday school, adult education, devotional booklets, care notes, and teacher training ($2,950/yr).
- Evangelism to support our church website, communications and Family Life outreach ministry ($8,800/yr)
- Fellowship & Congregation Care to support Stephen Ministry and congregational events ($2,300/yr)
- Social Ministry to support our Green Team and outreach benevolences such as Family Promise, MEND, HopeWorks ‘n Camden, Providence House, St Vincent dePaul, Global Missionary Kristen Engstrom, Lutheran World Relief, Bridge of Peace Food Pantry ($9,850/yr)
- Worship & Music to support our worship services, music program, and online streaming expense ($6,300/yr)
- Property to heat, light, air condition and maintain our church so it’s available for worship, weddings, funerals, baptisms, bible studies, sunday school, congregational events and community service for use by scouts, Family Circle Playgroup, food pantry providing meals for more than 100 people, AA, Overeaters Anonymous and HOPE ($28,300/yr)
… all for an average increase in giving of $0.71/day!
- A gift of an additional $57 is equivalent to one week’s worth of Christian Learning and Formation expenses.
- An additional gift of $20 would be equal to one day’s IT expenses.
- Our energy expenses are about $270 per week. Giving this much as an additional gift would comparable to sponsoring keeping the lights on for a week.
We’ll be promoting the Mission & Ministry Support campaign in upcoming weeks through advertising (Sunday Bulletins, narthex bulletin board), website broadcasting, temple talks, mailings and personal outreach over the next few weeks. The goal is to realize these donations beginning in early April. Although we realize that times are a little financially tougher right now, we’re reaching out to our SMLC family to assist the church in meeting it’s financial needs so that it can continue to operate and function in a manner that guarantees St. Matthew’s will continue to meet its mission.
SMLC Council President