John Maxwell said, “A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” During my tenure at Sunridge, we have always taken the budget process very seriously and worked diligently over the years at transparency to build trust and confidence that every dollar given to Sunridge is used to fulfill our mission. Each year the budget process begins in June, and through the use of giving and attendance trends, donor analysis, and a measure of faith, we determine the target for the upcoming fiscal year and then the operations and ministry areas are able to plan the upcoming year accordingly. In light of all that has transpired in 2020, it was clear reductions to the 2020-21 budget were necessary. The initial assessment in June was that a 9% decrease was realistic and in alignment with giving trends. However, as the next few months passed, a different picture emerged and the possibility of more drastic reductions loom on the horizon. That is why this year, two budgets were submitted to the elders for approval.
2020 – 2021 Proposal A
Proposal A has the annual operating budget for the 2020 – 2021 fiscal year at $1,500,580 which is a 9% decrease over last fiscal year’s budget. This is the budget that Sunridge will operate under starting October 1 and continuing on through November 10. At that point the executive team will evaluate the monthly giving to the general fund giving for September, October, and into November. If the general fund giving of $120,000 per month is achieved, this budget will remain intact with continued monitoring.
2020 – 2021 Proposal B
Proposal B has the annual operating budget for the 2020 – 2021 fiscal year at $1,377,460 which is a 16.5% decrease over last fiscal year’s budget and is more reflective of the most recent donor analysis. This is the budget that Sunridge will operate under starting November 11 and continuing on through the rest of the fiscal year if the monthly financial marker of $120,000 in general fund giving for September, October, and into November is not achieved. The executive team will evaluate the financial progress and only make adjustments if necessary.
I believe this is a prudent plan and many churches, businesses, and families are forced to make similar hard decisions and adjustments. Making budget cuts should not just be about coming up with a number, the impact of reductions of this size must also be considered. Here is a just sample of the impact of the cuts:
Operations will take a 10% decrease over the prior year. This includes the suspension of all sinking funds – HVAC, roof, sound, and renovations as well as reductions to the maintenance and IT upgrades and equipment. This basically means we are entering into a period of “purposeful neglect”.
Ministries will see major reductions in Adult ministry (29%), Family ministry (18%), Outreach (26%), and 40 % in our weekend experience.
Compensation changes are required under each proposal, and Proposal B has the most severe cuts, including the removal of positions and reductions to compensation.
What If …
We are living in very uncertain times and for some that can be scary. I think that might be why some people are hoarding things like toilet paper, sanitizer, and maybe even their money. But shouldn’t the attitude of those who follow Jesus be different? Jesus followers should not operate out of fear, but faith, hope, and love. Not recklessly, but with purpose and passion. As much as singing songs of praise, or praying, or reading our Bible, or fellowshipping with other believers, or going to church regularly is an act of worship, so is giving. When I look at the donor reports, there are so many take-a-ways:
First, I am in awe of how many of you give consistently to support what God is doing at Sunridge. Over 33% of you give 11 out of the 12 months and that is so encouraging. If you are in that group, thank you!
Second, I’m amazed at the generosity in your giving. There are forty giving units (a family or an individual) that give over $10,000 per year at Sunridge. If you are in this group, you make up about 40% of Sunridge annual giving. Thank you!
Third, I see opportunity to help some of you grow in your faith and stewardship.
What if …
- everyone that calls Sunridge home gave consistently?
- everyone that calls Sunridge home gave generously?
- you call Sunridge home, but have not taken a step to give?
Will you prayerfully consider your role in financially partnering with Sunridge to accomplish our mission? If you are not part of the 33% that gives consistently each month, would you be willing to seek God to find out if it is a matter of discipline? Hebrews 12:11 instructs us that, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
If your generosity is lacking, can I remind you of the words the Apostle Paul spoke to the church at Corinth? “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
If you call Sunridge home, but are not yet financially supporting what God is doing in and through your church, will you test God in this area? In Malachi 3:10 God says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” When you are ready, click here to find out all the safe and secure ways there are to support Sunridge.
These are exceedingly difficult times for all of us and many of you have seen reductions in your pay, been furloughed, or have lost your job. This post is not meant to heap guilt or put unnecessary pressure on you in an already tenuous time. God loves you and wants what’s best for you, that’s why Jesus came to earth, lived with us, died for us, and proved His claims through the resurrection. This post is a simply a way to continue our desire to provide full transparency and build upon the trust and confidence you have in Sunridge.
Thank you Sunridge for your faithful, generous, and consistent financial support. Together, we are going to help people find and follow Jesus in this valley and beyond.