by Dr. Mike McLemore
Greetings to you! In this week’s article, I want to update you on our financial stewardship report at your Birmingham Baptist Association. First, let me simply give you the numbers.
As of August 2017, our goal for undesignated funds from our 128 churches in this year’s budget was set at $580,000.00. At the end of August, we had received $341,225.36 toward our goal. We still need to collect $238,774.64 by the end of the year. We have four months to reach our goal. My financial experts tell me we won’t make the $580,000.00 goal the way we are tracking now and will only reach around $535,000.00. We closed out December 2016 with a total of $568,924.08 from our churches which was $11,065.92 less than our goal of $580,000.00 for this year.
So, in our projections in the 2018 budget, we have lowered the amount we expect from our churches in undesignated receipts to $535,000.00. The bottom line is we are having to lower our revenue expectations from our churches every year. We are doing our very best to control expenses as evidenced on the expense side of the August report in that we have underspent the budget goal for expenses by $9,268.76. The future picture for our association is very bleak indeed if this trend continues. The same is true at the State Convention level.
Many of our churches are designating more of their mission dollars to SBC causes and other mission projects which is wonderful! But in the process, we are starving our associations and State Convention ministries to death. The local associations and State Conventions are the two entities in SBC life that are closest to the local church. If these two entities go away in the future the small churches who have some of the greatest needs for resources will not be met! These small churches (300 members or less) make up 80% or more of the churches in the SBC. They make up about 75% of the churches in the BBA. These are the churches that I am most concerned about because I am in these churches every Sunday and I see the heartfelt pain they are experiencing because of lack of resources. Many of them are giving the best that they can.
These churches are made up of older saints who have sacrificed their personal meager resources to keep the doors of their churches open. These are the churches that most of us grew up in, were saved in, and are the churches in which we were nurtured. We cannot and must not allow these churches to die while they are crying out for help from our larger churches to come and partner with them. I plead with all of you to take another look at what you are giving to your local association as compared to what your church is giving to other mission causes. My plea is simply to reach a more equitable balance in our mission giving, please!
Thanks for hearing my heart. I am praying that we will reach that $580,000.00 mark by December 31, 2017! We can all make that happen if we desire to make it happen.
In my next article, I will share with you some of the changes that are anticipated in our association as we face the future. I am committed to living within our means by maintaining a balanced budget. I also am determined to blow the trumpet loud and clear to make sure you know what we are facing in these days. Please, pray for our ministries in our Jerusalem.
In the work together,