Financing Knowle Parish Church – your part
Presentation on Sunday 15th March 2020 by Steve Mort, Treasurer
This presentation is about how our giving to God fits in to our lives as Christians.
Most people are probably a bit mystified about how the church’s finances work, so I’m going to spend a bit of time explaining these, before moving on to what this means for us.
But first of all … a big THANK YOU!
Last March, we said that we were spending more than our income, and that we would soon run out of money without an increase in giving.
Well, the church responded! Last year, our regular giving increased by 5%, so now we are just about covering our costs.
As a reminder, everything that our church does costs about £600,000 per year – that’s £12,000 every week.
Where does it come from? You might think that the Church of England pays for it all, or maybe even the Government – but actually the vast majority of the church’s income comes from the gifts that literally hundreds of church members make. So we’re self-sufficient – like a family – and we pay our own bills.
And where does it go to?
Some people wonder whether the money that they give to the church just goes into a “big pot” in the Church of England and doesn’t necessarily benefit the work here in Knowle, so I’d just like to reassure you that most of our giving does in fact stay here.
We do give away about 15% of our income – some goes to help other parishes in the Diocese, some goes to charities like Tear Fund that are meeting needs in other countries.
But most of it is used here … and we take care to spend it wisely.
So let’s go back to where the church is now. As I said earlier, we’re just about covering our costs – but although our church looks like the swan serenely gliding across the water, actually there’s a lot of frantic paddling going on under the surface to keep things going! And that’s not sustainable – we have to be sure that we get things right.
So, we’re investing in a stronger operational team in the Parish Office. This will cost more than it used to, but it will be money well spent.
We can all play a part in this.
We must not lose our focus on God.
So before we go any further, let’s pause a minute and remember that everything we have is a gift from God … so an attitude of thankfulness is the start point for all our thoughts on how we use God’s gifts.
You’ll have seen this word “Stewardship” lurking at the bottom of the page. What’s that about? Well, it’s about how we live the whole of our lives for Jesus. In his letter to the Romans, Paul said “Therefore, I urge you … in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice”. … that includes placing everything that God has given us at his disposal.
That includes our time, the abilities that we have, the experiences that we can draw upon, and our resources.
So when we give, it’s just part of our life in Jesus.
We have so much to thank God for – so when we give to God, one of the main reasons is out of gratitude. God’s been generous to us and we want to give back – even if it’s all God’s anyway.
But there’s more. As we follow Jesus, we start the process of becoming more like Him. So what’s Jesus like – he’s generous! He loves giving. So when we give, we’re doing what Jesus would do. As the Holy Spirit prompts us to give to God and we respond to that, he’s making us more like Jesus.
And God is transforming us. We are not to be “conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of our minds” [Romans 12]. As we live our lives as Christians, Jesus calls us to be different. Lots of what we do is the opposite to what we hear on the TV or on social media, or even our friends talking. So when Jesus says things like:
- whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
- whoever wants to be first must be your slave
….. He is turning the world on its head, turning things upside down. And when we make a conscious decision to give to God, we are quite deliberately swimming against the tide. Because almost everything we see in the media and around us, says that money’s important, getting more of it is what life’s all about, and you keep what you’ve got. So when we give, we’re saying “no … there’s a different way … God’s way”
I’ve made it clear that this church needs more resources to do this properly.
So for us all, 3 things: