What happens if we raise more money than we have budgeted for 2018? It may seem like “my giving doesn’t really make a difference” if the pledges are quickly approaching, or have even exceeded, the budget amount for this year.
But that’s not the case!
Pledging is important because it allows our church to plan for what it might expect to receive in a calendar year. Based on that expectation, goals can be finalized, plans can be implemented, purchases can be made.
But pledging is just one aspect. The money still has to be received. Some years, dollars collected comes in below the amount that was pledged. Other times, like in 2016 and 2017, giving exceeds pledging.
So what happens when more is given than was budgeted? Anything pledged and received above the target for the annual budget goes into “cash reserves.” Just like your business or house, the church needs to have some funds in the bank. This buffer protects against economic downturns and offers flexibility to meet needs that arise or that God leads us to.
Having those cash reserves has allowed us to act quickly and decisively in the past. A few years ago, on the day of a disaster in the Caribbean, we were able to release funds immediately without waiting to see if they could be raised over time. We were able to help out Central Ohio Youth for Christ with a funding pinch. In 2016, we bought a site adjacent to the Warehouse using $900,000 from cash reserves that had been built up over time. And there are many other smaller purchases that the cash reserves have allowed.
On a number of occasions, we have allowed the Fiscal Support Team (FST) to prioritize how some cash reserves be applied (such as to debt reduction or other important, but non-urgent items), we can these "blank ink" votes.
When the budget it covered by pledges, the elders are free to consider things brought forth during a year without risking our stable financial position. While a lot of planning goes in to the proposed budget each year, things will always come up, and it’s exciting to be able to quickly respond to important or urgent needs that God puts before us.
You can pledge online at https://www.xenos.org/give/pledge