CHURCH FINANCE 101 (from the SMLC Financial Task Force)
This is the first in a series of Messenger articles dealing with the intriguing subject of church finance. Probably
sounds pretty boring. However, there are many of us who did not grow up in or around a church and the inner
workings of church finance may be a mystery to us.
But why these articles at this time? Well, over the past ten years, SMLC has grown. We have built a new
worship space and a new administrative/education building and, along with this expansion, our ministry,
programming, and staffing have grown. So of course this requires more MONEY! Our yearly budgets have
grown steadily and we have anticipated increased staffing needs; now in 2008, those increases are in full
force. The concern is that giving is not keeping up.
So it is important that the congregation be fully aware of the developing financial picture as we progress
through the year. It is the purpose of these articles to inform everyone about the basics of church finance and
to keep us all abreast of the financial condition of SMLC.
Did You Know?
Funding Sources: The only source of funding for SMLC ministry comes from you, the friends of
SMLC. Sometimes people think the “big” church in the sky gives us money or that the NW Synod
distributes money to congregations. Not so, in fact, SMLC gives generously to the NW Synod for
Payroll: SMLC financing is somewhat like a small business. We have bills and salaries to pay just like
all businesses do. Because ministry is people intensive, staff salaries make up about sixty percent of
our operating budget. Are there ways to adjust that? Sure—we try to involve as many “unpaid”
workers as we can. But we also try to pay our Staff a decent wage. Over the last several years we
have only been able to increase their pay by the NW Synod recommended inflationary adjustment.
THE CURRENT 2008 BUDGET DOES NOT INCLUDE THE INFLATIONARY ADJUSTMENT. It is
difficult to retain good employees when we must