As you may have read in our October 4 Weekly Enews article, “Be Part of Our Strong Finish to 2019,” we are now into the fourth quarter of our financial year and, as our September financial dashboard below reflects, we’re still running behind where we need to be in order to sustain the work and planned programming of our many vital ministries through the end of 2019. “We’re about $15,000 below our Ministry Plan for September, which puts us $140,000 behind for the year,” explains Steve Fagan, FUMCFW Director of Finance. “That means it’s time to try and catch up, so we won’t have such a big hill to climb in December.”
So, after careful assessment of where we are financially — and in hopes of circumventing the need for a more frantic, “Close the Gap” campaign in December, we’ve decided to be more intentional about this somewhat predictable shortfall with this newly-launched Finish Strong campaign. Keeping in mind the lessons we just learned in our recent “Facing Life’s Storms” churchwide worship series, we look to our strong center to face this annual “Storm of Uncertainty” quite differently this year.
You see, in the world of church finances, this well-known fourth quarter “Storm of Uncertainty” is one in which the questions always rise and fall with the tide of the times:
Will everyone fulfill their 2019 commitment? Will the reliable gifts (those who give generously each year but do not fill out a commitment card) come in as expected? What impact will what’s going on in the world around us, including changes to tax laws, have on giving this year?
These questions are not unique to this year — or to our church. Almost all churches enter the Storm of Uncertainty this time of year; however, this year we’ve decided to do something differently. By launching our Finish Strong campaign now, instead of waiting till December to barrage you with emails and letters in a frantic attempt to “Close the Gap,” we want to engage and inspire our entire faith community to come together — and to step up in faith and gratitude for all our ministries have accomplished and will accomplish this year — will gifts to enable our church to Finish Strong.
So why do we always encounter this fourth quarter shortfall?
It’s simple, really. Our very busy summer months — from Vacation Bible School, to youth choir and mission trips, to adult mission and outreach, to Grace groups and Bible studies, to thought-provoking programs and messages — use a large portion of the money we have received and budgeted for these programs.
And, while producing and supporting these summertime activities and meaningful experiences for all ages is part of our annual programming plan, the rise in programming for Fall and Advent is also a high-volume time for the ministries of our church. However, rather than entering fall with the funding of summer, we enter it relying on gifts and commitments to be fulfilled during the last half of the year. To further complicate this timing, the end of the summer is also typically a time for vacation and renewal for all of us, including church members, staff, and clergy, so we tend to experience both lower worship attendance and a predictable dip in giving.
So now, as we look toward the seasons of Thanksgiving and Advent, it’s time to turn our attention together to making sure we Finish Strong — and work together to bring our ministry and financial year to a successful close.
As of right now, to fulfill our 2019 ministry funding plan of $3,944,000, we need to receive $1,115,000 by December 31. “If that sounds like a big number, it is,” says Steve Fagan, FUMCFW Director of Finance, “Historically about 20% of our giving comes in during December — and that’s what creates the uncertainty.” He adds, “If we can pull together now to spread that giving out over the last three months of the year instead of waiting until December, it will really decrease that uncertainty.”
How can we accomplish this big goal together?
If you are on track with your 2019 Commitment, thank you!
If you have fulfilled your 2019 Commitment, thank you!
If you have missed a few giving opportunities or fallen behind on your commitment, we thank you for creating an intentional plan to get back on track in your giving. If your credit card payment has lapsed for some reason, thank you for taking a moment to update your credit card information online, or contact Steve Fagan in the Business Office at 817-339-5085.
In this time of coming together to Finish Strong, let’s also remember to celebrate the many blessings of our faith community as we honor our loving God with our gifts for gratitude. Please join our church leadership in prayerfully making an additional, sacrificial gift over and above your current giving and designate it for our Finish Strong campaign.
And, if you have not yet made a gift this year to our 2019 Ministry and Operating Funds, please prayerfully consider making a gift now to the Finish Strong campaign as a reflection of your gratitude and celebration of your many blessings.
We’ve made it really easy to join this crucial effort to ensure a successful close to our financial year. Simply go to fumcfw.org/givenow, choose Finish Strong from the dropdown menu, and then complete your transaction with your payment information.
By working together, we can meet or exceed the goal of not having a gap to fill, come December!