The word “steward” appears in both the Old and New Testaments referring to a person entrusted with the highest honor – the care of the master’s household and all that is in it. Eliezer of Damascus was Abraham’s trusted steward, in charge of the oversight of the household, all of the property, and responsible for the wellbeing of all of the people who were part of Abraham’s family unit and extended family. In the New Testament, Jesus told parables about faithful and unfaithful stewards. Herod’s steward, Chuza, had a wife, Joanna, who faithfully served Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote:
Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they should be found trustworthy. ~ 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Therefore, the understanding and practice of being good stewards of God’s gifts and resources is integral to who we are as God’s people. It is important to me that you know where the church spends its money and how we are doing. And so as we turn toward the last quarter of this year and begin making plans for 2015, I want to share with you our past and current financial state, some ways we have economized, and hopes we have for the future.
The General Spending Plan for 2014 began with a total budget of $548,090 with a weekly need of $10,540. The first economies began in July with the reduction of clergy salary costs, reducing the weekly need to $9,855. Other economies have followed, including the discontinuation of cable television, raising the temperature of the air conditioning, and discontinuation of janitorial supplier services. These economies have further reduced our weekly need to $9,546. Our weekly obligations are as follows: facility upkeep, insurance, electricity, etc. ($1,616), salaries ($4,632), apportionments ($1,946), missions ($270), worship and education ($542), and office equipment rental and supplies ($540).
You may have noticed that already this year we have had many weeks of short-fall, even with the reduced budgetary needs. In future weeks we will post the weekly need alongside the offering report to guide us to our goal. You are a generous and giving church, I have no doubt that we will finish the year strong, meeting all of our financial obligations fully. We are stewards of what God has given to us and the gift of this wonderful church, together we will continue to grow in ministry for His kingdom.