June 27, 2013

Who's Responsible for What?

Budget setting time! Does it bring up feelings of excitement and anticipation for the year ahead--or feelings of dread at the arguments and tension to ensue?

Some tension around budget setting does have to do with the reality that money is not available to do everything that needs to be done. However, some of the tension that arises is simply caused by a lack of clarity as to who is responsible for what in the process.

I want to share with you what we have found that works as we divide up the tasks related to Budget setting—and the “Giving Campaign.”

The work of three different groups is coming together on this project: The Budget Team, The Stewardship Team, and The Vestry.

The work of the Budget team is: 
  1. To review the past--data about income, data about expenses, data about giving
  2. To inform the Vestry of known increases or decreases in basic expenses--such as health care costs or rent
  3. To gather specific known numbers from current ministries--such as a team that is dropping an activity, or a team that has doubled in participants and needs to double its costs.
  4. To gather information on costs related to expansion of parish life, in case the Vestry determines it is needed. Additional clergy time, additional facilities rental, the hiring of additional trained professionals, etc
  5. To gather all this raw data and organize it for clarity and submit it to the Vestry for their work.
  6. Once the Vestry has made their decisions, the Budget team will then take those decisions and the projected giving expectations and organize those details into a budget for the year ahead.
Meanwhile, the work of the Stewardship Team is:
  1. To inspire among the membership a commitment to be faithful stewards of what God has entrusted us with individually and collectively.
  2. To call forth from the people an awareness of what new things God may be calling us to
  3. To listen to the voice of the Spirit as it is revealed to individual members, to teams, and to the community as a whole
  4. To celebrate the response of the people as they step forward with new commitments in all areas of their lives--time , talent and treasure
  5. To challenge the Vestry to faithful Stewardship of all that God has entrusted the church with--our finances, our facilities, our personnel, and our people.
And finally, the work of the Vestry in this is:
  1. To prayerfully consider all that is given--all ideas, all new visions, all hopes and dreams, all facts and realities, all gifts of money, skills and time
  2. To discuss together openly and with generosity of spirit, various options and their repercussions.
  3. To seek out more information if the information obtained is not sufficient to make wise choices.
  4. And finally to make the determination of what the budget will be set at for the coming year. The Vestry must vision, and seek to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, while considering what God is providing us to work with. The Vestry has been entrusted by the people to make wise decisions and to be faithful stewards of God's abundant generosity.
As we set out into budget season--we all have some work before us--may God's grace sustain us for the work we undertake. And may we hold one another continually in our prayers.