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Moving Forward in Faith and Diligence

February 10, 2011

[The following financial update from the Church Treasurer is excerpted from the Ministerial Newsletter of February 10, 2011]

I would like to express my appreciation to our fellow laborers. This year has been difficult to try to predict, as historical numbers provide little value for projections of income and expenses. I am sure most of us feel a bit like Gideon as his numbers were whittled down by God. Spiritually, in faith, you know it will work—but physically and emotionally, you wonder how.

When times are good, it is easy to convince yourself that you have faith in God, when in reality it is often faith in money. When money becomes scarce, you find that your faith is tested and you learn that maybe you didn’t have the faith you thought you did. Scarcity produces faith, just as patience does. I have often asked, If God did things the way I would like, would it even be a work of faith? If I always knew the money was there because of big bank accounts, my faith would perhaps become a buzzword and not a reality.

God saw to it that the United Churchof God has been given a financially strong position to start our rebuilding process. Proverbs tells us the wise look ahead to prepare for the future. Like Gideon, I expect we will do more with less. We have to see this as an opportunity to trust God.

I am encouraged by the reports of many new people asking to come to church services. But since faith without works is dead, we do need to be diligent in cutting our expenses, while not harming our service to members or minimizing our focus on preaching the gospel. God will provide, but we still have to do our part in being stewards with His money. There are many ways to save.

Ideas to Limit Costs

For instance, staying in a member’s home instead of a hotel can provide fellowship while saving money. I know many of us, having raised our children, have spare bedrooms to share. I have thoroughly enjoyed staying with members on church visits. In some cases it wasn’t possible, but those hours in a hotel seem sterile compared to the hours spent with God’s people. I think, perhaps out of necessity, we will have to rebuild our culture to one of sharing instead of always “paying.”

I ask that all ministers do as much as possible to limit costs. I will be looking at expense accounts to see if there are better ways to do things. While we want our ministry to physically visit members, some less-serious counseling and visiting can be done over the phone or perhaps even over the Internet via webcams. This can diminish some of our mileage costs while still providing contact. Our youth and many of our older members are already connected this way, so it may be an effective way to stay closer to more people and eliminate driving time.

For church visits, many meals may be provided by members. If you stay with a family who provides meals for you during the visit, you might consider leaving a few dollars on the pillow to help them with the extra food costs and as appreciation for their hospitality. I would rather reimburse a $10 or $20 gift to a member left on a pillow, than a $40 or $50 restaurant bill. These things can generate savings and help create the culture of Christlike service that we are trying to have permeate the Church. Ministry and members alike have a high calling, and we will work together until Christ returns to give us new assignments.

I would appreciate any suggestions or tips you may have to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Thank you for your service to our brethren, your prayers for God to supply our financial needs and the wisdom to do it all efficiently and effectively. I know you are all working harder than ever. May God revitalize your spiritual, physical and emotional strength.

Aaron Dean—Treasurer and Financial Services Operation Manager

February 10, 2011 - Posted by | Financial Services, Home Office | ,

30 Comments »

  1. I really like the idea of elders staying with members instead of using a hotel when possible. What better way to learn to serve, know and love each other?

    Comment by Michelle | February 10, 2011 | Reply

  2. Mr. Dean,

    I think Ministers staying with brethren is a fantastic idea! Back in Worldwide days, I went to a lot of functions out of my area. I never once stayed in a hotel, I always stayed with brethren. It’s so much nicer and helps us to practice hospitality, which Christ admonishes us to do.
    Keep up the good work, our prayers are with you!

    In Christian Love, Kathleen

    Comment by Kathleen Hansen | February 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Afterthought, not just Ministers, but Elders, Deacons and brethren as well.

      Kathleen

      Comment by Kathleen Hansen | February 10, 2011 | Reply

      • Good point about entertaining all our brethren, not just elders.

        Comment by grandmachelle | February 11, 2011 | Reply

  3. I am SO GLAD to see this suggestion in print. I remember the time when we all used to visit in each other’s home much more often. Out of towners were welcomed into the homes of local members to spend the night, such as after a social that ended late, or just to share a meal after services. We have gotten so far away from this kind of personal fellowship, it is a wonderful idea not just for ministers but for all of us. Also, I use Skype to keep in touch with some people, I would think we could use that for counseling and visitation in many cases. Of course, there are times when face-to-face would be necessary as well, but it would certainly cut down on costs and driving time.

    Comment by Jeanene Miller | February 10, 2011 | Reply

  4. Hello Mr Dean, back in 1970 my wife’s parents had the church of God ministers stay at their house in northern minn. while they visited people in that area. Generally for one or two nights each quarter. They loved it and got to know them better also.Its a great way to serve and draw us closer together.It would be great to do it again, Chuck Zutz.

    Comment by Chuck Zutz | February 10, 2011 | Reply

  5. This is a wonderful idea that has been difficult to communicate with the heirachy for a while. Also there is little advise and suggestion lay members can make when few if any actually is aware of the details of expenditures. This is the first and direct admission of this kind of expenditure from our leaders that I read; Probably it would help if we could have more details of expenditures which will help us make suggestions. (Joh 15:15 No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you).

    Comment by Debbie | February 10, 2011 | Reply

  6. Thanks for this, Mr Dean. From a “lay-members” perspective – many of us are willing to open our homes and do whatever we can to contribute, but we can only fill a need if we know it exists. On the one hand, I know I can work at becoming more aware of opportunities to contribute, but I also think our ministers and elders need to be willing to tell us what we can do for them! We WANT to serve, but we don’t always read minds well🙂

    Comment by Kim | February 11, 2011 | Reply

  7. Appears these suggestions have struck an “accord”. In my 45+ years growing up and later a member of God’s Church-our family invited many to our small home for meals and to spend the night, even many nights when seeking employment or maybe just a low point in someone’s life and needed a bit of help.
    We were also welcomed into other members’ homes.

    Comment by Debra Booth | February 11, 2011 | Reply

  8. Wonderful ideas. I would encougage everyone to ask themselves, ‘If this was my money, how would I spend it?’ We all must be good stewards of what God has given us.
    Thanks for all you do, Lisa

    Comment by Lisa Kimble | February 11, 2011 | Reply

  9. Fantastic suggestions all. It is very encouraging to see yet another way in which this situation is working out for our spiritual growth and benefit.

    Comment by Martin Kusz | February 11, 2011 | Reply

  10. With all of us so busy these days, would publishing the “Good News” less often be one way to economize? Every other month or even four times a year? The same with the “news” publications. And/or offering these as on-line instead of mailing as do many other non-profit organizations with which I am affiliated. Save $$$

    Comment by Bonnie Seashore | February 12, 2011 | Reply

    • The Good News magazine is already published every other month, and anything less often would seem to be a dearth of the word, wouldn’t it?

      The option of receiving your subscription online could be a way to save The Work money, but I sure enjoy having my own hard copy to read.

      Comment by grandmachelle | February 13, 2011 | Reply

    • I love the Good News and wish we could have it every month. I would not like to see it downsized even more. I like having my hard copy as well. I hope this won’t be necessary, but it is in God’s hand and I will be happy to adjust to whatever is necessary to help.

      Comment by Kathleen Hansen | February 15, 2011 | Reply

  11. In regards to saving money, I think UCG should have the option to receive the literature online for those who choose. Kind of like the “go paperless!” I see on my billing websites, we can have something similar. So those who prefer to have it on print will remain receiving them, while others who explicitly state not to can get them via email.

    Comment by VC | February 12, 2011 | Reply

  12. My mom had the idea of a local garage sale to raise funds. She also suggested we contribute the money we would normally spend eating out on the Sabbath – bringing sandwiches instead. That could add up pretty quickly if many people did it a couple of times a month.

    Comment by Jennifer | February 12, 2011 | Reply

  13. I think this is a great idea. For us members it will be an opportunity to visit our ministers. I enjoyed having Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes last year. My house is not big and fancy any means, but we can provide comfort and hospitality for anyone wish to stay here.
    Thank you ALL so much for your hard work. God bless you all ministers.
    Sincerely

    Comment by Hiromi Mirigian | February 13, 2011 | Reply

  14. Ive liked your advice on serving particulary during this time that the world is facing financial crisis.This can be every good way of strengthening faith among chriastians as most christians dont obey tithe when they think of how they will survive minus that amount.but if we are taught how best we can rationalise our income,it will also be easy to obey tithe.

    Comment by Rhodrick Haiton Thungula | February 15, 2011 | Reply

    • Tithing is an exercise in faith and is not meant to be easy. God says become like little children trusting Him. We have discovered that tithing is a blessing to our spiritual life and far out weighs anything physical.

      Comment by Celia Bradley | February 15, 2011 | Reply

  15. Many of us members would be very happy for the opportunity to serve God’s servants. Having an opportunity to serve those who serve us is something that God would expect us to do and more. The church in the book of Acts sold their extra properties to serve those in need. This serving attitude will be a blessing to all involved.

    Comment by Celia Bradley | February 15, 2011 | Reply

  16. In Escondido we have always recommended that members stay at the Motel Mediteran 760-743-2300. At only $60/night for a fine room with kitchenette, it is a smokin’ deal. You speak of saving money, yet it has never been listed in the brochure. And management is extremely friendly! This motel is only 1.2 miles from the center. Consider it.

    Comment by Don & Carol Davis | February 18, 2011 | Reply

  17. I too,think the members opening their homes to traveling ministers and members as well is a great idea. We did it often in the early years of the church. It certainly serves to draw us all closer as part of the family of Christ.
    Another thought I have on how to reserve our resources is to quit sending so many tithing envelopes to the retired members. We send in our tithe once a month since that is how often we receive our retirement check. The tithing envelopes are piling up and I hate to just throw them away but they keep coming!! Is there any way there could be less mailings to the retired members and would it save that much?
    We enjoyed having you speak in our church area this past Sabbath. Thanks for coming with the ABC choir. Keeping you and the administration in our prayers as you strive to trim the budget and continue to do the work of God in a powerful way. Many thanks to all of you.

    Comment by Sandra | February 28, 2011 | Reply

    • I thought it was church policy that retirees do not need to tithe on their retirement income. I believe that only those who are working and receive a salary are to tithe on their “increase”. Maybe somebody from the Home Office can comment?

      Comment by Basil Kopey | March 2, 2011 | Reply

      • It is a choice we made when we retired 10 years ago to continue to support the work as long as we were able out of our retirement income. We have not regretted it. We are blessed to be able to do it.

        Comment by Sandra | March 4, 2011 | Reply

        • Sounds good, Sandra! More power to you. When I retire I plan to continue to send an offering from my retirement check to continue to help support the work of the church. May God continue to bless you for the decision that you made.

          Comment by Basil Kopey | March 5, 2011

  18. I was just discussing this question with my husband and learned something new about tithing — after 39 years in the Church!

    He was saying that retirees only need to pay tithe if they did not already tithe on the income previously. I knew that. But what I did not know was that when we say we pay tithe on our “net pay” we are not tithing 10 percent of what our paycheck is, but rather 10 percent of the gross with state and federal taxes deducted. So, whatever goes to FICA for Social Security, etc., is tithable.

    I am certainly glad my husband has been responsible for writing the tithe checks all these years! Is there anyone else out there who might have been sending in the tithe on whatever amount is on the paycheck? If so, is it possible we need to educate our brethren, or was it just me?

    Comment by Michelle | March 2, 2011 | Reply

    • Then what is the policy if one has been tithing on the gross amount?

      Comment by Basil Kopey | March 2, 2011 | Reply

  19. What the Bible says is to tithe on the INCREASE. I think if one earns $1000 and have had to spend $300 to be able to earn it, then the increase is 700 so the tithe is a tenth of 700. That has been my thinking so far.

    Comment by debbie | March 2, 2011 | Reply

    • I see that as right as far as state and federal taxes go, but the other, Social Security is something we are putting away (supposedly) for a retirement income, out of money we actually earned, so it should be taxable. If not, you would need to pay tithe on it during retirement, would you not?

      Comment by Michelle | March 2, 2011 | Reply

      • I meant to say “tithable” not “taxable.”

        Comment by Michelle | March 3, 2011 | Reply


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