This past Sunday at Bluff Park Community Church, we took a short break from our sermon series through 1 Peter and turned our attention to Luke 12:13-21 and our relationship with wealth and possessions. (You may listen to Sundays sermon by clicking here.)
A couple of different thoughts went into this purposeful pause and focusing on the issue of stewardship and finances.
1) It’s in the Bible.
First, God’s Word talks about money, finances and generosity. Actually to say it’s “in the Bible” would be a gross understatement. In the gospels, particularly in the book of Luke, Jesus talks about money and possessions more than he does any other subject! So as a church, if we want to preach the “full counsel of God’s word”, then we should probably address the topic Jesus teaches on more than any other.
2) It invites God’s people into the budget planning process.
Then secondly, we purposefully pause each year to discuss stewardship and giving so that you, as the church, might speak into our planning for the future. In order to paint a more detailed picture of how our people play a role in our budget planning, it may be helpful to understand how we typically set and structure our annual budget as a church.
When setting next year’s budget at Bluff Park Community Church, our elders simply look at the actual dollar amount given by God’s people over the last calendar year, and then we set that amount as next year’s budget. Our general fund budget is divided into 4 “buckets”, each with an assigned percentage. We take the total amount, divide up the percentages, and presto, we have our plan for next year. The End. It’s that simple.
What does this look like?
Bucket #1: Personnel 55% of total budget. This includes all staff salaries, insurance, taxes, benefits, etc.
Bucket #2: Ministry 20% of total budget. These are the various ministry areas of our church. Things like Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Worship, Community Groups, Outreach, benevolence, justice, adoption, foster care, etc.
Bucket #3: Facilities 15% of total budget. Things like rent, minor renovations and upkeep at our current rented space, and then a (small) savings fund for future building / land.
Bucket #4: Church Planting 10% of total budget. 10% of all general fund giving goes directly to missions and church-planting in our city, our state, our region and the world. Right now there are church planters in Fairfield, AL; Hartselle, AL, and Lima, Peru supported by Bluff Park Community Church. We also partner with Acts 29 Southeast to see churches planted regionally throughout the Southeastern US.
What all this means
What this means is that you the congregation, end up having a major voice in setting the budget at Bluff Park Community Church. Because when the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve, whatever actual dollar amount God’s people have given in 2016 will be the projected budget for 2017.
What are we asking of you?
First of all, pray. Pray and ask the Lord how He would have you invest the resources He has entrusted to you.
Secondly, ask our leadership if you have any questions at all about our ministry budget. Our desire is financial transparency. Also, if you desire help in getting to a place financially where you can give, we would be glad to direct you to trusted resources on budgeting and debt reduction.
And then finally over these last few months of 2016, we ask that you would give faithfully and sacrificially to the work the Lord has called us to as a church.
Our desire at Bluff Park Community Church is for the people of God to give out of the cheerful, generous overflow of their hearts in worship of God rather than money. This is good for us, as it fosters generosity, and good for the mission of Bluff Park Community Church – as it gives resources to accomplish the mission.
You May Give in Several Ways
Online E-giving – If you would like to sign up for e-giving, simply go to bluffparkchurch.churchcenteronline.com/giving. This will allow you do give directly via electronic funds transfer or debit card. Options for one-time gifts or a recurring gift are available. This process is secure and simple.
Giving via Text — Text any dollar amount to 84321 to give. You will then be directed to follow a quick, self-guided setup process to tie your mobile phone to Bluff Park Community Church, your donor account, and a payment source. After that, donating is as easy as sending a text during worship!
Online Banking – If you would like to give through your online banking application, please set up payment per your bank’s instructions and mail to “Bluff Park Community Church P.O. Box 26732 Hoover, AL 35260”.
Offering Plate – At our weekly worship gathering, we end our time of worship together with a final hymn and the receiving of the offering. A plate is passed during this time into which you may place your gifts and donations. All checks should be made payable to Bluff Park Community Church.
All donations to Bluff Park Community Church are tax-deductible under Federal tax guidelines.