Welcome to Part 3 in series on Risk. In this entry we are going to focus on not being ready for the future.
Don’t forget to read Part 1- The Risk Series Introduction & Part 2- Red Flags of Risk in the church.
Being too conservative or too aggressive in our approach to readiness for the future.
These are the banners over Risk for the Future of our local church.
Where is our church going? Many people in churches that have been around for awhile simply assume – that it will always be here. On the other hand people in new churches are not sure about the future of their new church plant – will it continue or fizzle-out
We were recently at a conference especially for church administrators and finance people. Some were professionals in ministry others were volunteer people involved in their church. There I heard many stories of people in churches that encountered these views of “thinking about the future of our church” and “what are we doing about the future of our church?” One of the surprising things that I heard from many of these people was about how complacent or ambivalent church people seem to be about the future of their local church.
It is a fascinating scenario that there is nothing certain about doing church these days – there is little certainty that “our church” will be around for the long term. There is a RISK of the FUTURE for our local churches. I have talked with people recently who have called Benkorp to enquire about our services for both long term established churches and short term recent church plants. They talked about the lack of certainty and some are talking about the significant change, such as closing the church or survival by merging with another congregation or growing so that they need more resource support.
So when we talk about RISK of the Future, what does this have to do with the finances, the accounting and bookkeeping?
We may well think and it is easy to leave this thinking to others, the minister/rector/pastor or the committees, councils, deacons and wardens. However there are many possibilities for our involvement in the life of our local church and therefore opportunities to consider the future.
There is the church’s AGM and there are the groups in which we each participate from week-to-week.
What is the group doing to look to the future?
How is the topic about the future being discussed and tackled?
Here are some practical ideas that each of us can consider and work on for our local church:
1. About the groups in which I participate:
How is the group/s funded?
How ‘healthy’ are the finances of the ministries in which I participate?
What is the financial outlook for the remainder of this year and what about next year and beyond?
2. Consider the same questions for your whole church – and, because you are part of the “finance team”, you have opportunity to review and discuss this with others
As you consider these points you will realise there are some more fundamental points that require attention, and that it is ok for us to discover this as a process of review.
While we consider the finances we first must consider what the finances are required for? Why do we need the finances and how much do we need? The RISK is that we have too little or that it is too late to be concerned about the finances. The contrast arises because:
for the church that has been around for many years will tend to take the conservative approach that “this church will always be here”
for the young or new church “people aren’t sure if we will survive” and so they may take the aggressive or radical approach that is unrealistic.
The future for our church is in the vision for our church
From the vision we will develop strategy and clarity of mission
The finances will be based on realistic budgeting informed by the strategy.
Our aim is to consider RISK and develop financial strategies for your church to face the RISKS for the future of your church.
Next time we will look in more detail at the RISK of the Future for our church with some more practical points to work on for strategy and finances.
If you would like to talk more about ways that you can manage Risk in the Future, contact us at [email protected] or call our team on 1300 138 627.
For more on our Risk series:
Part 1- The Risk Series Introduction