Vol 8 No. 21 A Conversation Regarding Finances


Dear Folks,

In following up with the Ordination Examining Council and the Ministry Network meetings held last
week in Calgary, it has been a week of encouragement as different folk tell their stories, I’ll share more about that next week.

I got a rather long and helpful letter of inquiry from one of our Alberta churches regarding the use of
money in the CBWC family and an important reminder that the two best ways to talk about money are
to make it a normal part of the conversation by talking about it often and to regularly update people as to how things are going. Victor Ku has assisted in editing down the original letter of response that I sent to the church making the inquiry and I thankful to him for it. Here is a bit of an update in the world of stewardship and finance. I will do this more regularly.

With every calling, there is a need to finance the work of the ministry. The CBWC is thankful to all for the generosity of the churches within the denomination in continuing to support the work at large. While the staff focuses on developing their ministries through inviting faith, acting in mercy and cultivating leaders, caution is also exercised in spending against the yearly approved budget. Some of the prudent measures taken to ensure that due diligence is done in adhering to the budget line items has resulted in the following:

  • While churches have been expanding their mission and mandate and committing larger amounts to para-church ministries, CBM, camps, and especially building programs, churches have maintained their faithful giving to the CBWC. That giving has remained the same since the mid-1990s. While that is encouraging, it means that because of inflation we have $600,000 less in today’s dollars than we did in the 1990’s.
  • Through individual group and church requests we are seeking to make up that amount over the next three years. If you would like more information on how you might participate in that please feel free to call Victor Ku (1.403.930.7013), Bob Webber (1.403-575-1519), or myself (604-809- 5487).
  • It was deeply encouraging that a request for the sharing of any potential church surpluses from last year resulted in 46 churches contributing a total of $70,000 which was a very exciting prospect entering the new year given that we only reached 97.5% of church contributions in 2011.
  • According to our VP of Finance, Greg Anderson, (a pastor now but formerly an accountant), we reduced our expenditures between 2009-2011 by 24%.
  • While I was on holiday in July 2011, I continued to hear of the equity markets seizing up and phoned our transitional person in charge of finance (Bob Webber). We began a process of preparing and presenting to the Finance and Budget Committees of the Board and the Board itself, contingency reductions in budgets for 2011 and onward that included scenarios of a $200k cut or a $500k cut, if they should be needed. In other words, we continued to take seriously the need to cut expenditures.
  • We began the preparatory work early last month (March) to bring a proposal to the Board for enacting the cut of $200k. Since then, the Board has approved the staff proposed cuts, while encouraging fundraising activities to potentially render them unnecessary.
  • Victor Ku, our new Director of Administration and Finance, believes he can achieve savings of $130k within our existing framework by being careful and adopting a culture to save.
  • We have also radically altered how we ask for funds, beginning to reflect and imitate the model used by CBM. We believe it is unreasonable to go solely to our churches and to depend on investments that are not always to be depended upon. More of that in the future, but our first “ask” evening is this week in Calgary.
  • In early January, a letter asking for any potential surpluses to be shared with the larger family of churches was supported by 45 other churches, netting over $70,000. Again, many thanks to all these churches.
  • Celebration Dinners are some of the best things that are being done together as they are the best community-building exercises that the denomination has done outside of Assembly. The Celebration Dinners draw 2 ½ times the number of people that Assembly does; apart from transportation, there is no cost to the churches. This is all done at 8% – 10% of the cost of Assembly. To reduce cost further but yet maintaining the effectiveness of such gatherings, plans are in placed to reduce the number of staff attending these events. At the same time, we are working towards getting sponsorships for the cost of organizing these events and engaging the Board and local church leaders to host tables.
  • The Partnerships and Possibilities catalogue is a specific attempt to address issues of ministry in a powerful, professional and persuasive way. These are the people we work with; this is the standard that they have set and we must meet. Having said that, we are constantly assessing effective ways to engage and are clearly pursuing social media and other forms of communication.
  • We are also re-launching our website (down because of viral attacks) and some have suggested that we put half page, double sided inserts in bulletins 3 times a year, to save cost.

Again, we want to take this opportunity to thank you and for the churches continuous support all these
years. We look forward to the day when the work of the ministries will not be hindered by technological
limitations or by finances; trusting that the Lord will provide the resources needed in the work of His
Kingdom through the practice of good stewardship.

In Christ,