I trust all of you are staying safe and well.
Over the past 20 years, I counseled many non-profit organizations and churches. I pounded them with the importance of Budgeting and Saving for a rainy day. I used the example in Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV) “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways, and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in the summer and gathers its food at harvest.” In the past 10 months, life drastically changed, “regular” church services seem like memories for many, and the proverbial rainy day has arrived.
I remember early on, we thought, “everything will be fine, in a month. We will be back in church, and tithes and offerings will resume.” Instead, we scrambled to stay within the parameters of various state edicts forcing us to find other ways to preach the Word. We turned to Zoom, YouTube, smart phones, etc. to be our main modes of communication. But one of the church’s primary methods of collecting tithes and offerings vanished. No more passing the offering plate.
As we endured the devastating effects to our physical health throughout this pandemic, our financial health suffered challenges, as well. We must turn to alternative methods in order to secure necessary funds and cut down costs. However, many of us are unwilling to adjust our spending habits. We should take a fresh look at our budgets to see where we can trim the fat. For some churches it may be travel, meals, or special activities. But small churches, and churches with little reserves, begin to eat away at the muscle in order to survive. As you know, this is dangerous, and may lead to the church’s death, because of insolvency.
In business, we know that keeping a customer is much easier than gaining a new one. This is also true with church membership. I encourage all pastors and leaders to maintain a good relationship with your sheep. Reach out to them, encourage them, and offer them words of comfort. It is time to use what many other industries have turned to for maintenance and growth—social media, phone calls, texting, whatever it takes. Examine the examples in the Bible. Many books of the Bible were letters written to churches. The letters were not physical meetings in which Paul and the other apostles preached. We have the ability to do so much more today. Stay in touch with your flock, they will gladly give if they feel their shepherd is tending to them. Proverbs 27:23 sums it up, “Know well the face of your flocks.”
Gil Aguilar, CPA
Board Treasurer, Apostolic Mutual