The Top Two Questions About Money

January 18, 2017 | Written by Jonathan Cleveland

(or How We Spend Your Money – Part 4)

We have to make wise decisions about practical things like spending money.
We have to make wise decisions about practical things like spending money.

As Executive Pastor, I stand at a unique intersection in the life of our church.

Church is first and foremost a spiritual thing. It is God’s idea for his people to gather and seek him together. To love each other and to find ways to be salt and light where we live. Those things will always be our first priority.

But we all know that in our world a church also exists as an organization. And like any organization, we have to make wise decisions about a whole host of practical things like spending money.

In my role I often find myself standing at the intersection of the spiritual and the practical. I love this role, and I love the unique perspective it gives me. I love that I get to give to this church, and I also get to shape how we invest our money to have the greatest impact.

Pulpit Rock is my favorite place to give. Over these last few months, I’ve tried to capture a picture of what I see, and why that is true.

In this last installment, I wanted to address the two questions that I get most frequently about money.

1. How does Pulpit Rock spend money on missions?

This church has had a long and rich history of investing in overseas missions and missionaries. Through the years philosophies have adjusted, but our commitment to missions has always been significant.

Every year we set aside 10% of our annual giving budget for missions. This last year we invested around $135,000 in missions (this number doesn’t include anything from our Christmas offering). That funds:

  • Monthly support for our 11 missionaries and our church partner in Ethiopia.
  • Mission trips for students and adults.
  • Special projects with our overseas partners – these vary from helping our partner church in Boquillas finish their roof to funding travel for a pastors training in Africa.

We are intentional each year to spend ALL of this 10% on missions.

We are continuing to be thoughtful and strategic in this area. In the last few years we’ve been able to increase our monthly support amounts to key missionaries. We’ve also been able to invest more money into indigenous believers than ever before.

I love what we are able to do in this area. (Kyle Collins oversees this piece of our ministry. Feel free to ask questions.)

2. What about our relationship with Thomas MacLaren School?

You’ve probably noticed the lockers in the hallway. During the week we lease our two buildings to Thomas MacLaren Charter School. This school is not affiliated with our church, but we have been thankful to have such a good relationship with them for the last few years.

This public school started in our building, and has grown to the point where they use around 90% of our facility during the week. Currently they are in the process of looking for a permanent home, but we are planning on leasing to them for one more year (2017-2018 school year), while they continue to look for the right building.

This relationship has been great for our church.

  • It allows us to be a good neighbor to our city.
  • It keeps our building from sitting empty during the day.
  • It has provided extra income for our church.

We’ve always known that eventually the school will move on, and we are prepared for that day. But while they are here, the money they pay allows us to do some important things. We invest the majority of that money into maintenance, renovation and facilities staff. That has allowed us to make some needed improvements to our buildings without using giving dollars to do so.

As a giver, I’m so thankful for how our church invests overseas. I’m also so thankful for the creative ways we have been able to use our building.

We are constantly looking for ways to invest more money internationally, while at the same time leveraging our resources for the good of our city.

If you are a giver here – your investment is making a huge difference.
If you don’t give here – I want to encourage you to consider it.

We love what God is doing through our resources, and we’d love it if you’d join us and contribute here.

If you have any questions about how we spend money at Pulpit Rock, don’t hesitate to ask.

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3 thoughts on “The Top Two Questions About Money”

  1. Hey Jonathan-

    I had a question regarding the 10% budget increase mentioned in the church service Jan 22. I would guess some of the 10% is going to normal salary & benefit and other inflationary increases. But it seems there must be other ministry items to get to a 10% target. I was wondering if you could share what some of those other/new/expanded ministry items might be? Thanks!

  2. That’s a great question Leon!

    Most of that increase would go directly into ministry budgets/programs. For example if we raised an additional $150,000:

    – A relatively small percentage would go to salary and benefits (Probably around 5% of the total increase). And very little would go to facility costs this year (we are able to pay for the majority of those out of our lease agreement with the school).
    – At least 10% would go to missions (allowing us to increase our commitment to existing missionaries and continue to explore new opportunities.
    – Around 20% would go to student ministry. The team has some great ideas about some new Winter Camp opportunities, and expanding our Sunday morning programs.
    – Around 20% would go to Children’s ministry. Our AWANA program continues to grow (even though they already fill most of our rooms) and our Sunday morning programs are busting at the seams too.
    – Another 20% would go to adult ministry. We need to grow our capacity to help adults find friendship and get connected.
    – That leaves around 25% for some new ministry initiatives. We are launching a “love your neighbor” ministry (you’ll here about it this Sunday). We would love to continue to expand our ministry to parents – to equip them better and help them in their role. We are still growing our marriage ministry, and want to continue that. We’d also like to explore how we can help people connect to Counseling, and even help support them when counseling is needed, but money is a problem.

    That’s just a glimpse of how we are looking at this. We have worked hard to manage our costs, so that we are in a position to use most of that money to expand or grow ministry.

    Even if we don’t quite get there this year – i’m excited about what is to come! And we will continue to grow these ministries what everything God has already provided. But it is also fun to dream!

    Thanks for the question.

    • Jonathan- Thanks so much, this is a very thorough explanation of the 10% increase. I will pass it along to our small group.

      Looking to Jesus, Leon


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