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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 budget numbers 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 budget:
 
• 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 KOH2RVA 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.

 

 
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