We are in unprecedented times, and through this year our church has been faithful in its giving. For this we are grateful, and so are our ministry partners, as well as our community. We are able to do the work we are called to do through the spiritual discipline and act of worship, we call giving or tithing. As we wrap up this year, we ask that you continue to consider giving to the ministries of Woodridge, so that we can continue to minister well to our community.
Because of your giving, we are able to develop an annual budget that the members of the church approves by vote at a special called business meeting at the end of November. The budget process allows the church to allocate funds that you give to our ministries, and allows the members of Woodridge to review and to show their commitment to the upcoming budget. Through this vote we are saying we accept the budget and will meet the budget for the year. This process is similar in some ways to how a business plans for the coming year. The executives of the organization get together to develop a plan and a budget to successfully meet that plan. They know they will need to have a certain amount of sales and services provided in order to bring in the revenue required to meet the plan. They also know that all parts of the business need to contribute and if that does not happen the plan will not be met.
Though the church is not a secular business it is an organization that requires planning, budgeting, and meeting the budget in order to fulfill the plan. As members of this church community we are all part of and responsible for fulfilling the plan. Just as we sing and pray together, we give together as another form of worshipping God. If we do not come together as a community the budget is not met meaning plans are not successfully completed. We have to then adjust budgets, tighten the belt and determine alternative paths. I like to call it monitor and adjust. Not a fun process but a process that most organizations have to go through at some point. Your staff has been creative since March in identifying ways to cut costs, while still serving our community. We went through a similar process as we developed the budget for 2021, and will continue to adjust as we move into the next year.
Though not as exciting or heart warming as giving money to feed Syrian refugees through groups such as Preemptive Love Coalition, giving to the church is just as important if not more important in some cases. As people we expect certain things when we come into a church building such as clean toilets, a place to sit, a comfortable room, lights, a safe place for kids, Bibles, paper towels, pens… the list can go on and on. The point is that though not super exciting, maintaining our facilities and the operation of the church allows us to gather as a church community.
When you give to the church you are allowing Woodridge to be a place that can open its doors and welcome the community. Remember, giving is worship. We like to separate worship and call it singing in church, but worship is any time we connect with God through many ways including giving, music, prayer and our work.
Giving and financial stewardship is a spiritual discipline that all of us must explore to see where we stand and where God wants us to go. As a church, we have an opportunity to fully participate in the amazing and exciting vision that is before us as outlined in the Bible. The vision is not about keeping lights on or keeping the building at the right temperature on Sunday mornings. It is a vision that can transform our own hearts as well as the hearts of others as we reach out to minister to those not only in our community but also our world. We so often get caught up in the day-to-day operations of the physical church that we lose sight of The Church, the movement of the Holy Spirit and the changing of lives. We have been blessed with a vast amount of resources, but they are just tools used by God to transform His people.