Our leadership is pretty tight when it comes to spending money and I mean that as a compliment. They take seriously the money that’s given to the church, seeing it as an important stewardship. Here are three sobering realities associated with the money we receive that I think goes through the mind of every pastor/elder when finances are considered:
- This is money people gave to the church that could’ve been spent any number of other ways to directly benefit them, their children, their family, etc.
- Every dollar we spend on the church is a dollar that’s not going to a missionary.
- Even though this money is given to the church, it’s not really the church’s money; it’s God’s money and He expects it to be used for His glory. Some day there will be an accounting for how it’s spent.
Spending money in the church is a large responsibility that encourages quite a bit of consideration and prayer behind every purchase. People might come to our church and see things that could be replaced or improved and they might suspect it has to do with us lacking money, but if you inquired the response you’d probably receive is “It still works.” The reality is we’re not lacking money. This leadership’s frugality has put our church in a good place financially, including having a beautiful church, fellowship hall, parsonage and no debt. We’re able to give generously to missions and at one of our recent board meetings we actually felt like we had too much money saved up and we needed to give more to missions. India Evangelical Mission is one of the wonderful missions we support and we were able to give them $8,000 for a well they wanted to build. We’ve also been in a place to help people in and out of the church which is a huge blessing.
One nagging situation though has been our sound system. I talked to Jim, one of our elders, and he agreed that we should do something about it. Let’s face it: being able to hear the sermon is a pretty big deal. I don’t know what could be considered a higher priority than that…maybe only the lighting that enables people to read their Bibles as the pastor preaches? (NOTE: the lighting is something else we’re working on too!). We had a board meeting approaching and Jim and I decided we would talk about a new sound system then with the rest of the leadership.
Here’s where it gets cool…
Isaac, a friend of the church who’s really knowledgeable when it comes to sound said he could set us up with a pretty good system for X amount of money. Jim and I decided we would run that by the board and have Isaac go ahead and purchase the system and install it for us.
At our board meetings we usually talk about new business toward the end, which is when purchasing the new sound system would’ve been discussed. To be clear, aside from Jim and I, nobody else knew we were going to get a new sound system. Toward the beginning of the meeting our financial person said, “I want to let you all know somebody anonymously donated Y amount of money to the church and they’d like it to be spent on a new sound system.” The amount donated was almost 70% MORE than the amount Isaac said he would spend. I don’t like to speak for God, but it was hard not to look at this as God’s way of encouraging us to go forward with a new sound system and even providing for us to do it! Again, when you’re thinking about spending money on the church, you go back to those three considerations I mentioned earlier and ask yourself, “Is this really what God would have us do with His money?” Receiving the news about the donation was a great blessing for a number of reasons, probably most of all because we could feel like it was what God wanted us to do and this was His way of providentially letting us know.
We’ve got a few other church improvements on the horizon as well: the movable walls and the carpeting in the fellowship hall, the parking lots, the kitchen, and I already mentioned the lighting. We’d appreciate your prayers as we go about trying to be good stewards of God’s money.
Finally, if the people who donated the money for our sound system read this, please know what a great blessing it to us and we’re very, very thankful for it. I hope it’s encouraging to know that as thousands of people hear God’s Word preached at WCC over the years, you can feel like a part of every one of those sermons.