From the Finance Committee – March, 2017

Why Doesn’t Someone Do Something About This?

by David Smith, Finance Committee Chair

I have learned not to take these complaints personally, but almost no one seems to care about our annual budget until they get it in the packet for the annual meeting. Most of us enjoy the congregation programs, but don’t connect them with numbers and money. Many of your ideas for program improvements require communication with the right people to get them into the annual budget. So, how can we move from what we might not like to acting upon what we would like to see happen? Keep in mind these changes to our programs will not happen immediately because we use the democratic process.

Here are three ways you can act upon an idea that you think would improve something.

First, determine which program your idea would affect, find out who deals with that area, and make an appointment to discuss your suggestion. The person you talk with will likely take your idea to the appropriate committee for their consideration. If your idea is accepted, they have funds, and are willing to pay for it now, it will happen. However, if funds for that committee are scarce, it might not happen until the next budget year.

Second, if you find most of your ideas fall into a particular program, then you may want to join that committee and be involved in setting the budget priorities for the next year. Some programs are not committees, as such, so if music is your passion have a discussion with our music director. For most people, this seems bizarre, but my passion and my first church friends were found in the finance committee. Getting involved can lead to a role in getting things done.

Third, there are some projects that are not part of our annual budget process, known as capital improvements. Members organize them because they are passionate about getting them done. Members donate to the projects when they have been approved by the congregation. Here are four stages of discussion. 1. Completely rebuilding the area formerly known as the children’s playground to create an Outdoor Sanctuary. 2. Replacing our outdated and dangerous sound system so that someone will not trip and land with a speaker on his head. 3. Reshaping and remodeling our sanctuary. 4. Creating a window in the minister’s office so nature can come in for all those who enter.

Your idea could affect church programs or other types of improvements, but this often involves communication, action over a significant period of time, and sometimes, budgets and money.