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In a recent newsletter I wrote that I "would like to learn from others whose fiscal year is other than the calendar year. What are the benefits? What are the disadvantages? What do you recommend a congregation do to implement such a change?"
Click on A SUMMARY OF LETTERS to view the others responses.
DAVE PETERSON STATED:
We made the switch of our fiscal year from a calendar year to July to June 30 several years ago...and I've appreciated this in a number of ways:
1) The program year now leads the ministry....the budget follows the program.
2) We do our consecration weekend at the same time as we are approving our mission budget for the year....the first weekend in May in the annual meeting and consecration weekend is also in May.
As preachers...because these two happen at the same time...we are able to proclaim and tell people that our mission budget is NOT coming from the estimates of giving...it's coming from knowing what God has provided in the past...and from our vision for the future. What people place on the estimates of giving cards is not even available until AFTER the mission budget is approved.
This also means, we are free to proclaim...your estimate of giving is a tool God gives for each member and friend of the church to plan their own giving and personal stewardship...we never give to a budget..we give in response to God's incredible generosity to us!!!
So, in my own clumsy way...having these two at the same time is HELPFUL in promoting personal stewardship and gives us the opportunity to help people realize that we never give to a budget...we give as God has given to us....because givers need to give.
3) We implemented this change when we went with a new and updated organizational model and constitution. Thus...the new model was the driver...and the change in the fiscal year followed the programmatic model we adopted.
4) We continue to emphasize stewardship and giving on a weekly basis in the bulletin through a "Your gifts make a difference" column.
5) My sense is...this move is working because the sense of trust is high in the congregation....trust that the leaders have thought this through and are being good trustees of the financial gifts that are being given.
6) One of the main drawbacks....we ran into this again at the annual meeting in May...we are unable to produce a financial report for the fiscal year when we have the annual meeting in May...because the fiscal year still has two months to go. We include a 8-9 month report and then let the people know that the complete fiscal report will be available in the church office in mid-July. This seems to be working...and we have enough trend reports from the past years to be able to fill in some of the blanks that people need to be filled in.
These are just a few of my thoughts....thought I would send them while your email was fresh.
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Adam Copeland serves as director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders.
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