Year-end financials for the Conference 2015 budget are a good news/bad news story. The good news is that giving remains strong from our churches and individual donors. The bad news is that our expenses have out-stripped our receipts, and we ended the year with a $200,000 deficit (unaudited). In response to this deficit, the Board of Trustees is recommending revising the 2016 budget downward by 12%.
Most churches continue to give generously towards the ministry that we are doing together, and individual donors have continued to give generously as well. Some churches have given more, while some have given less due to local financial strains. Taken overall, the income from donations was mostly the same in 2015 as it has been for the past several years.
Conference boards and staff have done an excellent job of budgeting according to vision, and implementing the plan according to budget. Last year the budget and actual expenditure was $2,120,000 (budget) and $2,116,000 (actual). Right on target!
However, two other sources of income were lower than previous years. Transfers from estate funds are decreased, and we have been denied a government subsidy for the production and distribution of The Messenger. The reduction of these funds, together with increased expenses, resulted in this significant and sobering shortfall.
The Board of Trustees met to review the year-end financials, and to assess the financial outlook for 2016. Their conclusion is that the income will likely not increase, and could possibly decrease in the coming year. Based on this information, they suggest we consider revising the 2016 budget by decreasing expenses by $250,000, which is 12% of the total budget. This is a significant reduction. The Trustees met with all board chairs for further discussion, and all were agreed that we move quickly to adopt a revised budget for 2016. The General Board will be meeting in March to make a final decision on a revised budget.
The ministries of EMC will continue even as we revise the budget for 2016. We will maintain an active missions program, church planting will continue in Canada, churches will be informed and nurtured through convention and other gatherings, and The Messenger will come to your home and be online. In these, and in many other ways, most of the national/international ministries will continue--this because of your solid financial giving overall.
With the boards and committees having responsibilities delegated by EMC churches, we seek to fulfill the Great Commission while living within what we are given for that purpose. Thank you for your commitment, prayers, and giving. As further decisions are made, you will be informed through The Messenger, on the conference website, and by church mail.
Where do we, as a Conference of churches, go from here? For the short term, we are addressing the shortfall with the revised budget. In the long term, we may need to make difficult decisions about programming and staffing. Alternatively, one board member reflected that the shortfall could easily be offset if each member would contribute $3 per month to the budget. Seeing that happen would turn this into a good news/good news story!
- Tim Dyck, on behalf of the Board of TrusteesTweet