Discerning God’s Will in the 2014 Budget
(by Truman Smith, Budget Team Leader)
The Budget Team began its work
with a retreat in May 2013. Discerning God's will as a way of life as well as a
process for our assignment was the focus. I grew up in church and looking for an
understanding of what God wanted us to do was preached and taught. As chair of
the Team I wondered if I would be spiritual enough to practice what I knew or be
open to learning something more.
The underlining theme seemed
simple. “Human wisdom and God's wisdom is not the same. Part of becoming
discerning is to distinguish between the two.” (1Corinthians 1:18-31)
“Discernment in its most general
sense is the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and activity of
God, both in ordinary moments and in larger decisions of our lives.” Three
prayers helped most in my journey:
• Prayer of Indifference - asking God to make us indifferent to anything other
than His will (Luke 22:42)
• Prayer of Wisdom - asking God for wisdom in the situation at hand (James 1:5)
• Prayer of Quiet Trust - acknowledging complete dependence on God and complete
trust that God will lead (Psalm 131)
Each team member shared in the process. The Catalyst Prayer Team began our first
meeting, placing hands on our shoulders as each
voiced an enabling supportive prayer. It was a holy moment. One feeling washed
over me. This responsibility we each had accepted could really be a joy filled
experience with our differences becoming strong resources. Mark Larson captured
the heart of our process as well as the consensus like this:
While agreeing to this budget, many members expressed the desire to
communicate higher aspirations in giving for the coming year through the
Generosity Team – to create a challenge goal well above the budget that
increases program opportunities, encourages members to take additional
leadership, and allows us to make long term investments in our facility.
There are some positive things I believe will come from presenting this reduced
• First, the mere fact that this year's budget is lower than last year will
cause discussion about the church's over all vision and how we fund that vision.
Some may be disappointed, but the ensuing discussion will create awareness of
our churches ongoing needs and may bring new ideas for increased giving.
• Second, with the coming capital campaign next year, we have a budget that is
lean and attainable – giving us an opportunity to look ahead and present a
larger vision for doing His will.
The discerning process is not for
the few, but for the whole body of Christ [visit
page for how
you can be involved]. It is intended to be a light load shared with Christ and
each other. Let us find the starting place. Ask, is it good? Is there a sense of
rightness? Does it draw us toward goodness, toward God? “We can make decisions
... We are given discernment.” Paul reminds us that we are to be transformed by
the renewing of our minds so that we can discern what the will of God is,
that which is good, acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
In introducing the recommendation, Dr. Somerville asked the congregation to begin thinking
about the need for a capital campaign to raise money to pay for several of the proposals
brought by church teams during the discernment process, and to take care of many
maintenance needs around the church building.
The congregation approved the budget on Sunday, December 16.