Does Your Budget Equal Love?

Does Your Budget Equal Love?

                                                 There are no words...

Let’s face it. It’s been a rough few weeks. Heck, it’s been a tough year. So much tragedy – both natural and human instigated – it’s depressing. To battle my sad mood I needed a way to feel a sense of accomplishment. And thus, I decided to do an inventory of the bed sheets in my house. Empowerment!
Of course, this led me to look at the way I was folding (or more accurately, not folding) my fitted sheets. Determined to master a new skill I looked up on YouTube, “How to Fold a Fitted Sheet.” There I met Jill Cooper who stated in all seriousness, “One of the biggest challenges you will face in your life is how to fold a fitted sheet.” With that kind of conviction, I knew I had come to the right place. But after watching and practicing at least 20 times, dear readers, I am a fitted sheet folder failure. You can see the outcome in the photo on the right. Personally, I think Jill is leading one of the great cons of all time.

But oh, as usual, I digress…because on Sunday I was at my All-Church Conference (aka, a big church meeting) where our District Superintendent, Rev. Tim Overton-Harris gave us a question that was truly challenging:

“How is the church budget an expression of love?”
There was a moment of dead silence. The budget as an expression of love? While the question sounded a bit touchy-feely, as people began talking you could sense the energy growing around the table and in the room.
How is paying for electricity an expression of love? People can see when they come into the building!
How is paying the heating bill an expression of love? Visitors feel warm!
How is the copier an expression of love? The word can get out about community programs!
It became apparent that everything in the budget could be an expression of love.
Years ago I blogged about the budget in a similar fashion. I wrote:
“I often get asked the question: ‘What inspires people in the church to pay the heating bill?’ And, my response is: Nothing. But, what does inspire me is that paying all those boring utility bills allows for ministry to break out within and beyond the walls of the church. 
“Your church building is an integral part of your ministry. Stop paying those darn electricity bills and AA groups will have to scramble to find somewhere else to meet. Refuse to pay your water bill and the moms, dads, and babies who come for an Indoor Playgroup will be forced to go to McDonald’s instead (the horror!). Quit paying your heating bill and hungry families who come to your food pantry will go without dinner.”
So it’s time look at your budget in a fresh way. Have your Finance Committee ask the question. Then pose it to your Administrative Council. Finally, ask your congregation: How is this budget an expression of our love? You’ll come away with a whole new appreciation for the work of love that your church is doing. And believe me, it’ll be way easier to do that than to fold a dastardly fitted sheet.
 Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Next up: she’s ready to hire a consultant to help her match her socks. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.