What gets cut first?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by abcgrad94, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    Have you been in a position where the church decided they no longer had enough funds cover all the bills? If so, what gets cut first?

    Should a church cut a pastor's salary in order to pay for repairs on the church?
     
  2. annsni

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    What kind of repairs are we talking here? Has the church family been made aware of the financial situation? Is this a sudden thing (a sudden dropping of offerings) or has this been in the sights of the staff for a while?

    I know at our church, salaries have not yet been cut but there have been "threats" of that happening (not threats by people as in negative but "Uh-oh! We might have to cut salaries if we keep going this way!" kind of thing. We had at one point looked at a 10% cut but we were able to skip that and just lose our direct deposit.

    But I think first all extra spending should be cut before a pastor's salary is cut unless he's making a ton of money which is not the case usually. But for us, we cut all spending except that which was necessary and tried to do without for a while. It worked out and we're still solvent (we will never go into debt) so that's a good thing.

    So bottom line, extra spending first, put off repairs except that which is wholly necessary so that we don't go backwards (like a broken pipe or a leaking roof) but the bare essential repair is all we'll do for now. Lastly would be salary cuts.
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    Yes, we are still in that position of cutting our budget. We have cut our local associational giving, gone through every expense to see where and how much. (We were able to cut some out of Bible study literature by making certain that we didn't order 5 extra quarterlies.) We have cut out outside paid help for some lawn and maintenance stuff and kept it in house. We use volunteers rather than a secretary.

    But as a church, they decided that several items would not be cut. We would not cut our missions giving nor would we cut ministry salaries. Not cutting missions giving was my challenge. They responded with not cutting staff salaries. We have not had a raise in the last 2 budget cycles and won't again next.

    Now we are faced with a major roof repair. We have no roofers in the church and local zoning (and practical wisdom) means that we have to have a licensed contractor. We cannot do it now with the almost daily summer rains here in florida so we are using this time to ask for sacrifical giving so hen the dry season comes we can pay cash for it.

    This sounds personal to you though, ABCGrad. Can we pray about anything?
     
  4. Joseph M. Smith

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    When I was a pastor, we did arrive -- we thought -- at that juncture a couple of times. But typically those who were panicky were overruled by those who had faith and vision. In twenty years there was only one year when giving did not exceed the previous year, and that was after a difficult period surrounding the call and then too-soon resignation of an associate pastor.

    In my experience in denominational work, too many churches decide that missions is the thing to cut because "others" will take up the slack. I successfully argued that giving to missions is not about whether the denomination can pay its bills but is about meeting the missions challenges out there, and is also about a local church's willingness to live in faith. It worked!

    On a couple of occasions, when things looked tight, I volunteered to forego an increment in salary, provided other staff were not treated that way. My salary as senior pastor, while certainly not monumental, was well above that of other staff. However, only once did the committee accept my offer!

    Of course it helps too if the church is living out of a growth perspective, believing that it should, can, and will reach new people -- not just as givers, but as people in need of Christ. Once the trend of growth is established, the argument is no longer about where to cut to pay the bills, but about what new initiatives can be undertaken and funded.
     
  5. TomVols

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    In my experience (churches I've served and churches I know), the overwhelming majority cut missions/benevolence giving first, staff salaries a close second....or usually both. In more than one instance, this was done intentionally. "We can't cut missions any more, preacher, so you'll have to give up some pay." So then if the pastor (or anyone) refuses or complains, then you're against the gospel.

    Most churches waste more money than they realize. Rare is the church that cannot afford some sort of salary and mission. And as someone has said, churches don't have money problems, they have giving problems.

    Another random thought: too many use the budget as a weapon. I can take you to a local church that, every pastor's third year, cries doom and gloom, and cuts the pastor's salary by 25-35%. The pastor typically resigns. Then a new man is brought in at the previous pastor's starting salary or a little more. Then, year three comes, and the so does the cut. This cycle has been repeated since the mid 90s.
     
  6. abcgrad94

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    Yes, thank you, Tom. We're having a business meeting tomorrow night and could use prayer for wisdom. I could use prayer personally so I do not become resentful or unbelieving.

    I wanted to see if y'all had experienced this and how it was handled, so I'd have some suggestions ready. Basically, the air conditioner is shot and the furnace will be next. Dh has never had a raise in the 5 years we've been here and the parsonage has needed repairs since before we moved in. The church has given all the missionaries raises twice and has taken on two new missionary families for support. Most of our missionaries are retired and no longer on the field.
     
  7. Tom Bryant

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    We got your back in prayer for the meeting tomorrow night.
     
  8. tinytim

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    Been praying for you all.. let us know if we still need to keep praying... :) Or bail :)...
     
  9. abcgrad94

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    Yes, keep praying. Thanks. The church will get the new air conditioner and furnace and we are to "trust the Lord" for the rest. Instead of getting paid monthly, dh will now be paid bi-monthly, so hopefully that will give the church a few more weeks to recover funds.

    By the way, Tom, I'll be praying for your church as well, that the Lord will supply all the needs there!
     
  10. Tom Bryant

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    Are you both happy with the result? I agree we have to trust the Lord but it seems like they are asking you alll to trust the Lord while they're trusting their bank account.

    How would being paid twice a month mean they have time to recover the funds?
     
  11. abcgrad94

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    Rather than pay the usual way, a month at a time in advance, (due next week) they will pay 1/2 that, then the other half in two weeks. Basically, we will wait 2 weeks for the other half of his check.

    I'm not happy about it, but I've heard similar stuff is going on in other churches due to the economy and people losing their jobs.
     
  12. Tom Bryant

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    So it's in advance.. that's better than i had thought. I still think they're demanding that you walk by faith.

    Praying for you all.
     
  13. TomVols

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    Very, very ture.

    I don't mean to pile on here, but this shows something that is very true: we show by our datebook and our checkbook what we really believe regarding finances. It's a shame that churches undermine words with actions.

    I once led a business meeting where the church spent almost $300K in 5 minutes. The next motion was to spend $250 to take our kids to a Bible camp for one day just an hour away. We discussed that motion for over 25 minutes! Amazing.

    I too will be praying for y'all. I've been there. I know what it's like.
     
  14. Mexdeaf

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    In our case, the doughnuts were the first thing to go...

    Seriously, we have cut back on A/C and lighting. Cut back on the usage of the facilities by outside groups, cut back on staff- some moved on who we have not replaced, and one was fired (unfortunately).

    So far we are doing okay. I would (probably) be the first to go if push came to shove since the deaf pastor is considered an unnecessary expense in most churches.

    Unfortunately our economy is barely hanging on here in S. Texas. And the drug wars just south of here don't help.
     
  15. abcgrad94

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    Relatives of mine in MI said the economy there is so bad, they've had to close off the classrooms in their church building, turn off the a/c and lights for the most part, and cut the pastor's salary. My parent's church in KY has stopped doing weekly bulletins and just do a weekly news sheet/prayer list instead.

    Mexdeaf, do you know how to speak Spanish? It might come in handy if your church needs a hispanic pastor instead of a deaf pastor.:saint:
     
  16. annsni

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    LOL - For us it was the bagels. :)

    We don't have a deaf pastor but a deaf ministry coordinator and there's no way she's going anywhere. We're a family and ministry leaders stay so our "step" in this kind of case is a 10% across the board salary cut. We'd also not replace people who leave who don't need to be replaced but instead get creative. We had 3 secretaries and one left for maternity leave so instead of replacing her, each of the staff had to take 2 hours a week on the phones. We DID really curtail extra spending though so that we had to just make due with what we had. We're now still tight but moving along pretty well. :)
     
  17. Tom Bryant

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    The key is creativity in cutting like getting staff to answer their own phones or putting the thermostat up a degree or down a degree depending on the season. We no longer provide bottled water for the pastor :tear: . They say I can drink out of the water faucet like everyone else or I bring it from home.

    But too often we cut that which is reaching people. Our youth and senior adult ministry is a protected species. I'd rather do without bulletins than slow down a ministry reaching the unsaved.

    But doing without donuts is way too much of a sacrifice. :tongue3:
     

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