News for the Flock

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Numbers

Posted: July 09, 2018

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By Rick Summy
Senior Pastor

Numbers are everywhere. There are courses and majors and jobs that focus solely on using and understanding numbers. Certainly when we think of budgets, we don’t expect to see much more than a list of numbers.

Numbers appear throughout the Bible too – 3,000 baptized at Pentecost, 40 days and nights, 12 disciples. In the Bible, though, the purpose of the numbers is to support the experience. Forty days and nights indicates “a long time.” Only in God’s economy does five loaves and two fish add up to 12 baskets full of leftovers—12 being the biblical number that stands for wholeness and perfect abundance.

Stories are the best way to share how lives are changed. Stories show us the mysterious, astonishing, transforming power and presence of our relentlessly loving God. Our God who cares about all human beings - including us - everywhere and all the time. Think about it. Chaos to order. Slavery to freedom. The hungry fed. The homeless sheltered. Providing for the poor. Comforting the grieving. Healing the sick.

While God is certainly not limited, God has chosen to work primarily through the head and heart and hands of human beings, through the stories we make. It started with the likes of Abraham and Moses, Sarah and Miriam. It was most fully true in Jesus. Now, the Spirit carries on through Christ’s body - the church – and each and every one of us are called and empowered to love God and neighbor through our actions. It’s a great story!

So, instead of simply offering numbers, we share some of our SOTV stories, showing how thousands of lives have been impacted in the past year.

In addition to those stories supported by the General Fund, each month we see the continuing impact of our Capital Campaign contributions. These dollars have helped us care for our facility so that it can be the place where ministry both happens and starts. We have lowered our debt by nearly $600,000 over the past year, which will enable even more ministry when it is eliminated. We have directly impacted lives through a number of benevolence projects, including building a primary school in Mpalapande, Tanzania!

Because the Spirit moves among us, leading us in new and different directions, we don’t just keep doing the same things over and over again. There are always new opportunities to worship, learn, connect, and care! We tried several new initiatives this past year, which you’ll see among the stories. Imagine where God might be leading us next! We are called to make new stories to share, to continue to impact lives with God’s transforming love, to strengthen our outreach to our community and around the world.

Thank you for your generous support, so that we can tell stories of lives made better because of our shared ministry. I’m excited to report that our giving has trended upward this year! But if we are to keep growing our impact, we need to continue to grow in our generosity. Please consider a special one-time gift to the general fund, or increase your regular giving by one-percent or more of income. For fun, figure out what your favorite beverage or snack costs per week and give that amount extra to support our ministry. Watch for special opportunities throughout the year for gifts to particular ministries supported by the general fund. We all can do something that will make a difference.

The old saying was “Good things come to those who wait.”  Recently, an airline commercial has turned the old adage on its head. “Good things come to those who go!”

God’s relentless love in Jesus has already given us so many good things.

May we respond to that love by giving generously, so that we might continue to go with gusto, doing God’s work with our hands.

There are so many more stories to tell…

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Budgeted Expenses:

August 1, 2018 - July 31, 2019

Each expense area includes staff and expenses that are directly related.

  • Worship: $417,779
  • Learn: $600,155
  • Connect: $331,523
  • Care: $191,707
  • Facilities: $444,782
  • Administration (supports all ministry): $795,820

Total expenses listed here are $2,781,766.

Actual budgeted expense for next year is $2,663,334, when adjusting for 95% staffing, and fiscal year vs. calendar year benefit costs.

Budget was approved at the annual meeting. View supporting documents at sotv.org/council.