This is another brilliant and helpful example of a talk delivered by a treasurer, which was very well received.
Coming from the perspective of generosity, rooted in Biblical principles, and seeing the local parish as being part of a much larger whole, this talk focuses on how contributions are spent on mission and supporting other parishes.
Its author (Kathie Lambert from All Saints, Preston-On-Tees) who delivered this at their recent APCM, has generously given me permission to share it, in order to assist others and to help alleviate the stress of writing such a talk from scratch. Great that these resources are being shared amongst our great big diocesan team.
Again I have removed some parish-specific financial details, so the focus remains on style and content, rather than the figures.
Kathie the Treasurer said:
“Firstly, I would like to thank you all for supporting me in my role as treasurer over the past year. It has been a steep learning curve.
Two basic facts about our finances:
1) the church has no debt. We owe nothing to anyone – except to the Lord, to whom we owe everything.
2) We do not have excessive reserves. That’s deliberate. We believe that money should be put to work for the kingdom and not stashed away in banks. We do have adequate operating reserves though so we can pay our bills on time. And we do pay on time. I think this is an important witness; “those Christians, you can always rely on them to pay their bills on time.”
I fully believe that when we are generous with the money God has given us, He will supply all our needs.
I read a quote the other day which challenged me and spoke to me personally.
If everyone in your church followed your pattern of giving, would your church thrive, survive or nosedive?
Although All Saints’ is a thriving church, there are many more things we would love to do and would do if we had the finances.
But our income is growing.
Our 2016 financial report says that our total income last year was over £x.
£x of this is the incredibly generous giving from many members of the church.
Then over £x was claimed back from the government through gift aid.
The remaining income is everything else; like the rent from the flats across the car park which we own. And the hiring out of our church centre. Our solar panels earn us money as we sell surplus power to the national grid. And we also receive a very small amount from weddings and funerals.
What about expenditure?
Sir John Templeton once said “I have observed 100,000 families over my years of investment counselling. I always saw greater prosperity and happiness among those families who tithed than among those who didn’t.”
What is true of family budgeting is true of church finances.
So, before we spend anything else, we give away the first 10% of our voluntary income to outside missions in the UK and abroad outside of All Saints’. The Missions Support team recommends to the PCC where this tithe should be spent.
Secondly, our biggest outgoing is Parish Share. This is about 40% of the church’s total spending.
Parish share pays for the vicar, his housing, his pension contributions and also honours former vicars’ pensions too. Because of parish share some churches which were dying are now flourishing.
For example, Stockton Parish Church is booming. It’s a community where the Gospel is preached and many have come to know Jesus. But it relies on parish share because many of its members are unemployed or asylum seekers.
St Mary’s Long Newton is another church which has been blessed by wealthier churches like All Saints’. It is absolutely thriving with a growing children’s ministry and a vibrant Messy Church. If our churches were completely independent of each other both these churches would probably have closed years ago.
“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
This is why we are committed to being generous, and not stingy, with parish share.
Thirdly, nearly 30% of our spending is on teaching, outreach and mission in All Saints’. This pays our staff (not including the vicar) who work here and lead our volunteers. It also includes things like equipment for our children’s and youth work and Connect ministry, the Alpha course, the Life exhibition and so on.
This outreach budget also pays for training to keep those who are ministering sharp and able to keep delivering with high quality.
General Upkeep may not sound exciting, but it is vital. It enables us to be a hospitable and welcoming church. It’s things like insurance, gas, electricity, tea, coffee and toilet rolls… You’d soon notice if it wasn’t there!
Thank you so much to everyone who gives to the Lord’s work so generously.
I would also like to thank the finance team who help me in my role.
- Gill Wake counts all the cash and makes a trip to the bank every week to pay it in.
- Craig Aston regularly reads all the utility meters and feeds the information to our providers so that we pay what we owe, not what they estimate.
- Margaret Vaughan deals with Gift Aid and claws back thousands from the taxman.
- Terry Doyle does the payroll so our staff get paid evey month and I know how much to send to HMRC.
- John Belmont patiently explains Exel spreadsheets to me over and over again.
- Jennifer Brown is my assistant treasurer. I would be lost without all of them.
But most of all, I would like to give thanks to our Almighty God who has ultimately supplied all our needs.
Finally, a reminder.
Billy Graham once said,
“A cheque book is a theological document, it will tell you who and what you worship.”
If you have not reviewed your giving for some time, I would encourage you to do so as a spiritual exercise.
Thank you. Are there any questions?”
Image credit: Macaca fuscata, social grooming by Noneotuho, CC BY-SA 3.0