Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On Budgets and Nominations and Economics

It's that time of year again. It seems to roll around quicker every year. It's the time when, in church life, we compile a proposed budget and make Lay Leadership nominations for the next year. Both are nearly done by now. At Bethel Church, we don't have a large problem when asking persons to serve on committees or boards, etc. There is a great lay leadership pool in our church.

The big news this year, of course, is the economy. Our current budget is way behind in terms of budget goals, though we always have a big December. Everything was good financially until July. And, September was awful in terms of giving.

So, as we sit down to write a new budget for next year, we do so with faith and a little fear and trembling. The economic news is not good, at least if you watch any of the news channels. Plus, a Presidential Election time adds uncertainty to things, no matter how it turns out.

We are trimming somethings in the budget to keep things where they are budget-wise for 2009. And, we are counting on pledges for 2009 to help us determine where we are. Next Sunday, October 26 is Pledge Sunday. It is one of the most impressive Sundays of the year when nearly everybody brings a card to the altar and spends some time praying. En Masse, we come together, never alone, to make our commitment to the church, Christ's body on earth. It's beautiful.

I'm sure that this year will not be any different. Christians all over the world will join in making this commitment for another year. Many other Christians are in worse shape than we and will still give all they have.

I know that some of our own people are suffering; some, with job layoffs and a slowed economy.

It's never easy. Church life is messy. We all say: if everybody tithed. I say: if everybody gave 5% of their incomes we'd be way ahead. Or, some say, if I could win that lottery I'd fix things.

Well, whether we make the budget or not, whether we pledge next year's budget or not, God is working mightily among us. Our prayers are rising to God; and God's spirit is coming to us, leading, guiding, renewing, changing us.

See you in church!
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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