New Year’s Resolutions

Earlier this week, Randy Wray made a little post about New Year’s Resolutions that got me to thinking about a common experience we share.

The tradition in most churches is to have a budget presentation at the end or beginning of each year.  Different churches follow different procedures on this, but the tradition in Arlington was to have the first sermon time of the new year alloted for reviewing last year’s giving and this year’s budget.  The unfortunate elder who was tapped to make this presentation last year did as good a job as could be done.  Unfortunately, there is very little one can do to spice up a budget presentation.  I love to hear the adjectives that float around after a business meeting like this.  I won’t repeat them, but they are fun to hear.

On the first Sunday of 2006, a young lady attended worship at Arlington for the first time.  She had called several days earlier wondering how to start going to church.  She didn’t have any experience with Christianity but had become convinced that she needed to give it a shot.  Her New Year’s Resolution was to attend church.  Little did she know that her first experience was going to be "Budget Sunday". 

One of the things that I really admired about this young lady was her openness.  At some point following the budget presentation and before our next elders/ministers meeting, she approached Randy and said, "You may want to consider doing that at another time.  Some of us who are here are trying to fulfill New Year’s Resolutions".  I still laugh every time I think about it.  While the elders were already considering changing the format of Budget Sunday, this story really helped them make the decision to dissolve the practice.

There were a couple of "a-ha" moments for me in this encounter.  First, there are still many things we can do for our worship services to make visitors feel more comfortable.  Driving out the needlessly boring is a good start.  Second, we need to be more sensitive to the thoughts and thinking of those outside the church.  We have different motivators than some do, and we need to be able to respond with encouragement and support.  If we think New Year’s Resolutions are silly and that is what brings people to church, we should find a better way of addressing the topic than to share our inner thoughts on that one.

So, for those of you who were hoping for a budget presentation this year… sorry!  Last year we made a New Year’s Resolution to not do them anymore.

46 Responses to New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Meowmix says:

    Yay! Good for ya’ll. (How’s that for an electronic southern drawl!) I don’t like budget presentations, and I’ve been in the church all my life. I can imagine what it would sound like to someone who hasn’t!

  2. Meowmix says:

    Yay! Good for ya’ll. (How’s that for an electronic southern drawl!) I don’t like budget presentations, and I’ve been in the church all my life. I can imagine what it would sound like to someone who hasn’t!

  3. Brady says:

    One time we were on furlough in the USA and we visited with several churches, just attending. Everyone of them was doing their budget Sunday on the day we came. Bummer.

  4. Brady says:

    One time we were on furlough in the USA and we visited with several churches, just attending. Everyone of them was doing their budget Sunday on the day we came. Bummer.

  5. James says:

    In my opinion “Budget Sunday’s” are bad. Bad, bad, ba! A budget presentation should never be done during the regular worship assembly. It’s been my experience that most people trust the church leadership regarding the budget. I mean the money’s going to get spent on whatever it’s going to get spent on, right? If someone wants to know about the budget, or has a complaint or suggestion then they can schedule time with the church leadership. Copies of the planned budget should be made available to any who request them.

    No one likes budget presentations. Not the people making them and certainly not the people having to listen to it. And if you’re visiting? Well, don’t even go there. If I recall our first Sunday in Shreveport was budget Sunday. How uplifting! That’ll really bless your life.

    (Have I given the impression that I don’t like budget Sundays? Good!)

  6. James says:

    In my opinion “Budget Sunday’s” are bad. Bad, bad, ba! A budget presentation should never be done during the regular worship assembly. It’s been my experience that most people trust the church leadership regarding the budget. I mean the money’s going to get spent on whatever it’s going to get spent on, right? If someone wants to know about the budget, or has a complaint or suggestion then they can schedule time with the church leadership. Copies of the planned budget should be made available to any who request them.

    No one likes budget presentations. Not the people making them and certainly not the people having to listen to it. And if you’re visiting? Well, don’t even go there. If I recall our first Sunday in Shreveport was budget Sunday. How uplifting! That’ll really bless your life.

    (Have I given the impression that I don’t like budget Sundays? Good!)

  7. Randy Wray says:

    Budget presentations on New Years may provide a valuable service to those in church recovering from a hangover.

  8. Randy Wray says:

    Budget presentations on New Years may provide a valuable service to those in church recovering from a hangover.

  9. Stoogelover says:

    We haven’t had a “budget Sunday” in the almost 14 years I’ve been at Long Beach. As a matter of fact, I seldom even see a budget and almost never ask for one. We are given a lot of leeway in spending for various ministries and the financial people deal with all of that on a need-to-know and a personal level. It may not be the best way, but it works for us and keeps the elders all but completely out of the financial matters of the church. They need to be focused on people and spiritual matters and not financial matters … but find an eldership who doesn’t want to control in this area and you’ve found a rare eldership!!

  10. Stoogelover says:

    We haven’t had a “budget Sunday” in the almost 14 years I’ve been at Long Beach. As a matter of fact, I seldom even see a budget and almost never ask for one. We are given a lot of leeway in spending for various ministries and the financial people deal with all of that on a need-to-know and a personal level. It may not be the best way, but it works for us and keeps the elders all but completely out of the financial matters of the church. They need to be focused on people and spiritual matters and not financial matters … but find an eldership who doesn’t want to control in this area and you’ve found a rare eldership!!

  11. Meowmix says:

    Randy, what am I going to do with you??? 🙂

  12. Meowmix says:

    It is SO good to know that there are congregations where the elders are free to do what they are commissioned to do………..and someone else handles other things, like budgets!

  13. Thanks for sharing this story.
    We have our budget day on a Sunday night sometime near the end of year.

  14. Thanks for sharing this story.
    We have our budget day on a Sunday night sometime near the end of year.

  15. bradpalmore says:

    I’d call it a digital southern drawl. At any rate, it’s great.

  16. bradpalmore says:

    You could have written a survey of church finances.

  17. bradpalmore says:

    Yeah, but you stayed 10 years at the Shreveport church and can’t have a conversation without mentioning how great they are. Perhaps I should rethink my position….

  18. bradpalmore says:

    I appreciate the attempt at coming up with something cute to say, but how could this possibly help?

  19. bradpalmore says:

    You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  20. bradpalmore says:

    Perhaps we should open that question up to the blog-o-sphere to decide?

  21. Royce Ogle says:

    I am convinced that if we will teach our people what the Bible has to say about the blessing of giving there will be no need for a budget presentation. Many of our churches employ the same methods for church finances and increasing giving that the business world does. We should teach our folks to give trusting God, believing the specific promises in the Bible about giving.

    I am convinced that the reason some of our folks, and our churches, are broke is because they are stingy.

    The great promises in the Bible about giving are still in effect. Yet, I am still waiting for the fist Sunday morning sermon on scriptural giving. I have never heard it from a coC pulpit.

  22. Royce Ogle says:

    I am convinced that if we will teach our people what the Bible has to say about the blessing of giving there will be no need for a budget presentation. Many of our churches employ the same methods for church finances and increasing giving that the business world does. We should teach our folks to give trusting God, believing the specific promises in the Bible about giving.

    I am convinced that the reason some of our folks, and our churches, are broke is because they are stingy.

    The great promises in the Bible about giving are still in effect. Yet, I am still waiting for the fist Sunday morning sermon on scriptural giving. I have never heard it from a coC pulpit.

  23. Dee Andrews says:

    Talk about money and budgets and everyone not liking Budget Sundays (boy, do I agree) and look at all the comments back and forth, Brad! You didn’t get many talking last time about resolving to exercise more. Wonder what that says about us all?

    BTW – interesting thoughts and observations on the retail industry. I rarely go in retail stores, even grocery stores, unless absolutely forced to, so I haven’t seen that. I’ll have to check that out.

    So what happened with the girl who was resolving to start going to church? Did she keep coming? I sure hope so. Boy, talk about a sad commentary on churches.

    I’m glad to hear that where you are Greg it’s not like that. That is wonderful!

    On another note – how come Brad every time I come by here, which is often, I have to start all over to fill in the “blanks” in the three boxes above to post my comments? Just wondering because at all the other blogs I read, they stay filled in when I make return visits, but there they don’t.

  24. Dee Andrews says:

    Talk about money and budgets and everyone not liking Budget Sundays (boy, do I agree) and look at all the comments back and forth, Brad! You didn’t get many talking last time about resolving to exercise more. Wonder what that says about us all?

    BTW – interesting thoughts and observations on the retail industry. I rarely go in retail stores, even grocery stores, unless absolutely forced to, so I haven’t seen that. I’ll have to check that out.

    So what happened with the girl who was resolving to start going to church? Did she keep coming? I sure hope so. Boy, talk about a sad commentary on churches.

    I’m glad to hear that where you are Greg it’s not like that. That is wonderful!

    On another note – how come Brad every time I come by here, which is often, I have to start all over to fill in the “blanks” in the three boxes above to post my comments? Just wondering because at all the other blogs I read, they stay filled in when I make return visits, but there they don’t.

  25. bradpalmore says:

    Being stingy may have something to do with it. I think a lot of it comes down to control, which comes down to the trust/faith issue you refer to. If we feel like we have to control the finances, God will surely turn us over to our desires. The solution to any of these problems is walking by faith. We may not have any more money than we had before, but the amount we do have will seem to be more than sufficient.

    I have a couple stories/examples of church finances I want to share, but they are too long for comments. I’ll share them in the next couple days as posts, though.

  26. bradpalmore says:

    Interestingly, I received a New Year’s card from this lady shortly after writing this post. She’s still around, and a ton of fun to be with. I put her on our outreach committee that we formed to reevaluate all things outreach as the resident expert on life outside the church walls.

  27. bradpalmore says:

    Be sure you are logged in to this blog. I don’t require registration/logging in to post, so that may be it. Other than that, couldn’t tell you.

  28. James says:

    “First, there are still many things we can do for our worship services to make visitors feel more comfortable. Driving out the needlessly boring is a good start. Second, we need to be more sensitive to the thoughts and thinking of those outside the church. We have different motivators than some do, and we need to be able to respond with encouragement and support. If we think New Year’s Resolutions are silly and that is what brings people to church, we should find a better way of addressing the topic than to share our inner thoughts on that one.”
    I missed this whole paragraph the first time ’round. (Guess I was a bit eager to complain about budget Sundays.) I had a discussion via e-mail with a church member not long ago about whether the church was becoming too “sin friendly.” I told them the church should never be “sin friendly,” but that part of our mission is to be sinner friendly. Every church in the world should strive to ALWAYS be “sinner friendly.” The task of every church is to bring sinners to Jesus. ANY church that is not welcoming to sinners is wasting time and money and failing in their God-given mission. Period.

  29. James says:

    “First, there are still many things we can do for our worship services to make visitors feel more comfortable. Driving out the needlessly boring is a good start. Second, we need to be more sensitive to the thoughts and thinking of those outside the church. We have different motivators than some do, and we need to be able to respond with encouragement and support. If we think New Year’s Resolutions are silly and that is what brings people to church, we should find a better way of addressing the topic than to share our inner thoughts on that one.”
    I missed this whole paragraph the first time ’round. (Guess I was a bit eager to complain about budget Sundays.) I had a discussion via e-mail with a church member not long ago about whether the church was becoming too “sin friendly.” I told them the church should never be “sin friendly,” but that part of our mission is to be sinner friendly. Every church in the world should strive to ALWAYS be “sinner friendly.” The task of every church is to bring sinners to Jesus. ANY church that is not welcoming to sinners is wasting time and money and failing in their God-given mission. Period.

  30. I do believe there is a fine line between sinner/sin friendly. I think it’s a good point and needs careful consideration. Are we fellowshipping with those we may need to withdrawl from? Good point.

  31. I do believe there is a fine line between sinner/sin friendly. I think it’s a good point and needs careful consideration. Are we fellowshipping with those we may need to withdrawl from? Good point.

  32. James says:

    “Are we fellowshipping with those we may need to withdrawl from”

    Just as important, are we withdrawing from those Jesus would have us fellowshipping with?

  33. James says:

    “Are we fellowshipping with those we may need to withdrawl from”

    Just as important, are we withdrawing from those Jesus would have us fellowshipping with?

  34. Very well said. Wish I had said it first 🙂

  35. Very well said. Wish I had said it first 🙂

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