Thursday, June 27, 2013

Guess What Time It Is? It's ... Budget Days at OSL

My new favorite commercial is Geico's "It's Hump Day." I love how obnoxious the camel is in the commercial. He reminds me of me.

Well it's budget time at OSL and I feel like I'm being the camel in the commercial driving Mike Z crazy, among others, namely our leadership. Mike is so laid back and I'm Mr. hyper camel. "Mike, Mike, Mike, you know... Blair, Blair, Blair, you know... George, George, George, you know... Marty, Marty, Marty, you know..."

Whoo! Whoo! It's budget days...

Budget planning is always hard. It feels personal for those on staff. It's pressure-filled going into "thee voters meeting." It's a huge commitment in time by our leadership. It's a major financial commitment on the part of the congregation to try and fund the budget.

BACK TO JESUS - Such comfort. Such hope. Such peace.

But let's get back to why we go through this. Jesus and the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins. 

As we gather in church around Christ's Word and Sacraments, He gathers us as His Bride whom He purchased with His blood. He holds us up as cleansed, spotless, and holy. He brings the saints in heaven and on earth who trust in His work together. Such comfort. Such hope. Such peace.

We have agreed that we want this message available to the families in our community, so our Church has a full blown school. The parents can count on us to help raise their children in the truth of God's Word and bring His mercy to bear in the gifts of creation (education).

God calls each member of our congregation to support her ministries with time, talent, and funding. Together, we confess that all of the gifts of creation are from God. He calls upon us to use them wisely and to give from our blessings to support the blessings of the Church.

Some of the hardest decisions and meetings took place over the last 5 years. Thank God for all of you who have been so faithful and have worked so hard. Thank you!


Pragmatically speaking, "no budget, no mission" explains how we go about serving the community with God's Word. OSL has been through a lot in the last five years. She has great leadership all the way around. Everyone only wants what's best for the Kingdom of God manifested on San Simeon Way in Fenton. We have the stability to look forward and plan things with a purpose and vision to serve our members and our community.

I've always looked at budgets as they are really our work programs so that we can serve the Lord by loving our neighbors with what we do. That's why we sacrifice and put forward our "first fruits" in time, talent, and treasure, so that we can get to work sowing the seeds that God grows into His kingdom.


So here we go. It's my first round of budget planning. That's always dangerous. :) When a new pastor steps into the congregation to whom God has called him, everything is a "fresh start." As the senior pastor, it is my role to give guidance and shepherd the Lord's church in all of her ministries, using the administrative gifts that I've learned over the years - all the while repenting and drawing strength from His forgiveness. I pray for wisdom and try to administer according to the accepted practices of church administration. Well, that applies to budget planning as well.

Sure it's hard and some meetings are emotional, but they are worth every moment of discussion and number crunching.

The satisfaction and blessings of this hard work come in,
  • the families that are strengthened and provided stability in God's Word;
  • the joy of baptizing the children; 
  • the answers that I get during the children's message; 
  • the comfort of salvation to the grieving family planning a funeral; 
  • the singing of the children in chapel; 
  • the graduation ceremonies and the fun of confirmation classes; 
  • how people come together in a time of crisis;
  • singing with the congregation and the school children, words that reflect God's Words;
  • and so on.

Every indication from our leadership is that we are all ready to move forward with our "fresh start." We are ready to see beyond the past and move forward with the church and school and develop her programs into the future.

As I've indicated in the last couple of months, we need to plan for our future We need to move away from the band-aid approach to our budget and staffing issues and see the amazing gifts the Lord has given us and how we can move forward with a purpose. We will have quite a few staffing changes in the next several years and we need to plan for that. We need to talk about strengthening our ministry support in the church and school and wisely set a direction to continue to improve what the Lord has given to us.


OSL has a great school. The foundation and quality of education is spectacular. The church members have renewed their excitement over and over again in both the church and school.

The demographic reality is that we are poised to move forward and build both the church and school up and welcome new families and members into both. We have unified our budget in the last several years and we have a clear picture of what the beginning of our "fresh start" looks like.

There will be a couple of new things that we are bringing forward, things that we have planned for from major gifts. The one plan is to use the funds set aside for new ministry. We are thinking about a musician/teacher to strengthen the music programs in both the church and school.

The other one is a renewed look at our infrastructure and support for our ministries. This will be the easy one because we have used them in the past. This is important because over the next several years we will need to make adjustments with the demographic reality of our faculty. In other words, ONLY by pure numbers, it appears that we are facing a turn over due to general retirement practices. We need to be prepared for this so that we are not re-inventing the wheel with every new "hire" or call process.

Please keep us all in your prayers and let's talk it all through, make wise decisions, repent of our sins and rejoice in God's mercy and the constant showering of blessings he gives.

Whoo! Whoo! It's budget days!

Finally, in case you were wondering, my former favorite was the Geico rhetorical question commercials. The link is a video that strings them together. What a hoot!

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