In June, we made dramatic changes in where we spent our money at Hilltop. In addition, the church leadership saw a need for us to speak more frequently about how we are doing from an income basis. For those in worship on Sunday, December 22, I spoke for a few minutes on where we are from an income level and our financial position.
We have available to us three piles of money. They are not equal in terms of our ability to reach them to help us handle our obligations.
We have an endowment (shown in green on the chart in figure 1) and it has grown over $20,000 in the last two years. It is by intentional and appropriate design, the most difficult to access. This is good. This account has over $120,000 in it as of the end of November.
Figure 1: Resources Potentially Available to Hilltop
Next we have money that has either been designated for specific purposes by the donor or the church (shown in blue on the chart in figure 1). Donor designated is more restrictive in what we may or may not do with those resources. Money by a donor for a new sound system is restricted. Money designated by the church for a new sound system is not. This is also good. This account has over $60,000 in it as of the end of November. Various building accounts, mission resources, and funds generated for both choir robes and youth make up the vast majority of these resources.
Finally, we have those resources that provide us the banking fluidity to conduct monthly business (shown in red on the chart in figure 1). Frankly it was the $30,000 drop in this account between January, 2012 and May, 2013 that prompted us to set in motion a change in authorized spending and our more active discussion of church finances. This account has rebounded. This is also good. This account has over $47,000 in it as of the end of November and that is +$13,000 over where we were in May.
We have over $220,000 to help us finance the church. It is not all liquid. It is not all disposable at a moment’s notice. But we are in a better place than we were in May.
Our spending for 2014 will be based on our approved budget which decreases proposed budgetary spending by right at $40,000.
Figure 2: Congregational Giving
Figure 2 represents monthly cash flow by the congregation to support the operations of the church. Blue was 2012 and red is 2013. This is not choir robe, building designated or a pass-through heading to Denver, Salt Lake or Nashville. It is what comes in from the congregation to support the operations of the church. As I write this, we need for a little over $35,000 to come in for December to allow us to exceed last year for December. December is a five-Sunday month and that usually helps a little.
Figure 3: Some Thoughts
Figure 3 is a collection of thoughts. It does extend a request to those who plan on catching up by December 31st for IRS purposes. This last Sunday past is basically our probable last collection opportunity for that. We count and deposit once a week. The real point newsletter point here is the Capital Campaign for the Sound System. We want to get this in time to install and work out the newness by Easter. If you were here for the December 8th Community Event, you heard the board issues in our welcome and initial invocations. We cannot fix this too soon. That said, resources for the Sound System must be from extra mile giving and not a diversion of operational resources.
We have in the last few weeks made decisions to resume the payment of our “apportionment” to the Conference. On another day I will write an article on what that is but I do ask that you trust it is a good investment in the ministries of the United Methodist Church. Additionally, we shared nearly $6,500 with others beyond our walls. These include but are not limited to: Crossroads, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Salt Lake Rescue Mission, the Utah-Western Colorado Committee on Native American Ministries. Finally, half of our Christmas Eve offering went to Imagine No Malaria. We are well on the way to making our $10,000 goal here, standing at $9,000+ on December 30, 2013. In fact, in this area, we are the best UM Church in Utah.
Overall, I am optimistic, cautiously so, but optimistic nonetheless about our finances. We are managing our spending more consistent with our real income. I do continue to believe that we are under resourcing the building and long term, we need to be more diligent in designating resources away from operations into infrastructure sustainment. We will get there.
Selah, Pastor Dennis