First United Methodist Church

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News & Devotions

Words on Stewardship from our Finance Chairman, Ray Sandhagen

Last Sunday in worship our Finance Committee Chairman, Ray Sandhagen, spoke to us about our 2020 Stewardship Initiative. Below is his speech.

“Good morning.  I am pleased to be with you this morning to help kickoff our Stewardship Initiative for 2020.  So much has happened in our Church and the Methodist denomination this year and it is exciting to think about moving into a new year with new opportunities to grow God’s Kingdom in our Church, our communities and our ministries here and abroad.

Our theme for 2020 is:  Greater Than Me.  Because of your generosity this year, we have been able to accomplish a great deal.  Just to name a few important successes, we moved one of our preschools, the Trinity Christian Academy from South Street to Reeves Center and now we have 75 children enrolled with a waiting list.  The Foundry Ministry was launched, serving those who have aged out of the foster care system in our community.  Our dance ministry, Studio 150, expanded into a second location at the Reeves Center.  We celebrated our 3rd class of Kenya graduates through our Inua Ministry.  We were able to make numerous improvements to our campus here in Winter Park as well as the Reeves Center to expand our ministries.  It has been a year of growth for our Church and we are thankful for that.

We have included in your bulletin this morning an insert with some details on our metrics comparing 2018 to 2019 and our budget as well as some of our key movements in 2019.  There are a lot of numbers that you can pour over but I want to highlight a few points.  Our year-to-date pledged giving through August has exceeded 2018 by about 6%, however, our unpledged giving has fallen short from last year.  We believe there are several main reasons for this including tax law changes pertaining to charitable giving, the Methodist denomination vote on our future direction as a traditional or an open church and a decline in attendance from last year.  Other Methodist churches are experiencing the same results as we are.

Our expenses YTD through August are under what we budgeted but exceeded last year as our church ministries have grown.  We added more capital expenses into the General Budget this year and we spent more at Reeves Center in 2019 than last year.  We just got the deed to Reeves Center last week and the Methodist Conference will reimburse us for over $200,000 we spent on Reeves. We are not planning an increase in expenses in 2020 and the Ministries are working on their budgets with that in mind.

December is always a very big month for our Church with total giving that is typically more than double what we have in a normal month.  We anticipate that will be our experience this year as well.  Obviously, we are still working on finalizing our 2020 Budget but we intend to have a balanced budget for the coming year.  Our total budget will be about $5 million. I want to highlight our 2020 generosity goals.  First, we have set a goal to increase our individual and collective financial generosity by 5%.  Secondly, we want to increase the number of pledging units by 5%.  2019 was the first year in a decade that we had an increase in pledging units over the previous year.  Our goal is to have 300 pledging units in 2020.  And finally, our third generosity goal, as I said, is to get as close as possible to a balanced budget.

Our Stewardship Initiative is very important to our Church in 2020, as it always is, and we prayerfully ask for your commitment both financially and spiritually.  The Marcy Trust has generously agreed to provide a Challenge Grant as they did for our 2019 Stewardship initiative.

There are a number of ways to give. You can complete a pledge card or give electronically through Realm or our website. We will enclose pledge cards in the bulletin over the next five weeks.

Please prayerfully consider your gift for 2020.  We are indeed grateful for your generosity this year and our upcoming year.  Thank you!”

Ray Sandhagen
Chairman, Finance Committee