“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'” (Luke 14:28-30)

We spent a lot of time in last Sunday’s Annual Business Meeting trying to follow this teaching of Jesus.  It was very difficult.  We looked at the proposed budget for the church year ahead and saw that we could fall as much as $18,000 short if our pattern of giving and spending does not change.  Aside from a cost-of-living increase in staff salaries, the expense side of the budget is the same as last year’s.  Our biggest problem is that income through weekly offerings has drifted down over the past year, when we had anticipated an increase.  There are multiple reasons for this: some consistent givers have moved away, while others have been out of work.

We “counted the cost” at Sunday’s meeting, and here’s what we came up with.  First, we’re asking all members and friends of ABC to reevaluate their giving.  If every regular giver would put ten percent more of what they currently give in the offering plate, our weekly income would add up to an annual increase of $19,500, and that would enable us to complete the tower.  Of course, we realize not all ABCers will be able to do that, but we’d like everyone to try.  Second, the Deacon Board has committed to do a line-by-line analysis of the projected spending in the budget to see where we may be able to cut back without hurting the church’s ministries (weakening the tower).  Third, we give thanks to God that we have enough rainy-day reserves to cover any remaining shortfall.   These funds are in the bank because ABC’s leaders over past years have been careful with the church’s resources, so the tower’s foundation is solid.

Based on this plan, the congregation voted for the proposed budget.  We’re asking you to show your support for our tower-building by considering an increase in your regular giving.  We have faith in God and in you as we anticipate your positive response to this challenge.

I also want to forewarn you that in a week or so Pastor Connie will be asking you to help finance the Ghana Team’s mission trip in July.  Your generous up-front support is really needed to give impetus to the Team’s attempt to raise the needed funds.

We don’t want you to be confused about these two kinds of financial requests.  We know many people say, “The church is always asking for money.”   We try hard not to do this, but we also want to be honest about the needs and opportunities that are before ABC and its people.  I know you’ll help us respond to them.

Let’s build this tower!

— Pastor George Van Alstine