This blog post is about the relationship between attendance and stewardship at Stratmoor.
In 2003, when the congregation was averaging 34 in attendance, stewardship from within the church was about $40K.
In 2011, the church is averaging about 100 in attendance; our stewardship looks like it will finish the year in the $115K or so range.
Using Algebra I a simple extrapolation from the 2003 attendance number of 34 and the corresponding $40K says we should expect given an attendance of 100 to have a total income of about $117K or so, or just a little over what we expect to achieve.
We have done extremely well over the last seven years. For example, we’ve been able to do without the rent from two other congregations using our building on Sundays which has given us worship versatility. We’ve paid off the loan on our new windows. We’ve been able to have a musician dedicated to each service. We’ve been able to fix up the Fellowship Hall and the classrooms. That said, we are financially still at a fragile place. I believe our operational income needs to be in the $150K range in order for us to meet the minimum baseline requirements for our existing building and ministry expectations.
We need to continue focusing our attention on: (1) vibrant and meaningful worship; (2) thinking missionally outside of our doors; and (3) discernment of God’s call on our lives through discipleship. These are the three critical elements of our continued growth. The impact of these three foci will, I believe, lead to increased attendance, more small groups, more people involved in mission, and more resources for us to reinvest in the world through the connectional church (nationally) and to reinvest locally (Food Pantry.)
If the Algebra I extrapolation holds true for the future, I believe the path to long-term financial viability at Stratmoor rests in the continued growth in attendance. The target attendance number for the $150K annual income level is about 130 to 135. (That is a minimum, it should not be our ultimate goal.)
Attendance growth naturally leads to more people participating in mission projects while at the same time growing in their discipleship.