I recently had a wonderful weekend sharing at one of our Association’s Annual meetings. It was a great time of fellowship, encouragement, remembrance and planning for the future. As I was looking over their annual meeting book of reports I was struck by something I found interesting. The “youngest” church in the association was founded in 1985. Now, while I remember 1985, there are a growing number of people who don’t. The next youngest church was 1944, the one before that was 1909, and the rest were founded in the 1800s.
It was a sobering thought to realize the people gathered on this particular weekend were there because a group of folks in the 1800s had decided to organize churches all around the region. I tried to envision what those first services were probably like; I bet there was no air conditioning, no Power Point on the screen, and I can’t imagine them plugging in their crock pots for the carry in dinner.
But what they started continues on today. What about your church? Have you ever considered what it took to get your church started? Ever considered the trials, the difficulties they persevered, just so that you would have a place to worship today? Whether it is a new church plant, or one celebrating a sesquicentennial, it took untold effort to get the church where it is. The more important question though is what are you doing to ensure the continued ministry of your church?
The answer at least in part, is having a good strategic plan, one that prepares for today, tomorrow and ten thousand tomorrows. While every church is planning on meeting next Sunday, what plans are in place to make that plan a reality not just next Sunday but every Sunday into the 2100s and beyond? A part of that plan must include the church’s finances.
The electric company doesn’t accept the love of Jesus as payment for their services, neither does the brick pointer or parking lot paving company. The good news is the Missouri Baptist Foundation does. Because we are supported in part by the Cooperative Program we are available to meet with your stewardship/finance committee or church leadership team and work through a strategic financial planning process without charging the church a fee for those services.
We are able to help a church look at their current finances, examine financial trends, evaluate upcoming capital needs and build a customized plan of action to support the ministry of your church today while giving consideration to future needs, ministry goals and dreams. While we don’t promise to have all of the answers, we do partner with a variety of experts in their field who can come along side your church to provide counsel and solutions.
As your church begins their annual budgeting process for the next year, this is the perfect time to consider its long term financial future. It is a great honor and a high privilege we have been given to serve you and we want you to know we take it as a sacred calling. We love sharing with Sunday School classes, small groups, senior adult gatherings and Sunday morning services about how a few simple decisions can have enormous and eternal impact.
I left that associational meeting with a renewed sense of energy and calling. I am hopeful that a hundred years from now the next president of the Missouri Baptist Foundation will look back at all of those churches that made a decision in the early 2000’s to plan for their future and remark to someone about the faithfulness of the churches and her people of that time that has ensured their work to 2100 and beyond.
Neil Franks serves as President of the Missouri Baptist Foundation, as pastor he recognized the need for strategic planning in the church. He and the Foundation team travel the state helping churches via church loans, short and long term investments opportunities and providing estate and gift planning while encouraging Christian stewardship and generosity. You are invited to contact the MBF to schedule one of them to come to your church or meet with you individually about your own generosity strategy at 800-776-0747 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. ν