Archive for December 14, 2010

Dec 14

2010 Financial Update

2010 | by Ron Giese | Category: Administrative

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DSC congregation,

I want to give you an update on finances, but can we talk about life first?

“Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:20-21)

This reminds me of a sermon by John Piper in 2000, in which he cited a Reader’s Digestarticle about a couple who retired in Florida. In the article the husband only talked about three things: his softball team for seniors, sailing along the coast in his yacht, and seashell collecting. Piper’s comment was, “When this guy gets to heaven, what does he think he will present to God? Look God, my seashell collection?”

Piper contrasted this with a lady, Ruby Eliason. Ruby was almost eighty years old, single, a medical doctor serving the poor in Cameroon, Africa, sent out from Piper’s church. In Piper’s words, her goal was, “to make Jesus known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick.” The brakes on her SUV failed one day and Ruby went over a cliff to her immediate death. What struck Piper was that someone in his church referred to this as a tragedy.

Earlier that same year Piper had read the Reader’s Digest article about the couple in Florida. Piper’s conclusion: come to the end of our life–our one and only life–and it’s all about seashells and a couple other hobbies? Now that’s a tragedy! Ruby’s life … and even death? That is not a tragedy. That is God being glorified.

Someone once said that our giving, whether it be talent, time, or treasure, should be (1) for God’s glory; (2) for others’ good; and (3) for our joy. In short, everybody wins. But this starts with number 1 on the list–God’s glory.

If we put our joy first, we might be tempted to over-invest our time, efforts, and money into our own version of seashells!

With this in mind I’d like to take a minute or two to update you on finances at DSC, as well as remind you of our focus on church planting.

The Tale of The Bulletin

As you’ll notice from the bulletins, through the months of October and November (we started our new fiscal year October 1) we continue to be a little behind. What we do as staff when that happens is fairly simple: we cut back in non-essential areas. Simply put, our goal is to keep expenditures within the monthly giving.

As you know, our country continues to be in an economic downturn that started around 2008. Unemployment continues to be high, and we see the effects of this in our church when people are either unemployed (who were employed a year or two ago), or are in business for themselves and have seen their business drop over 50% in the past two years.

Our response to a congregation that is not able to give quite as much has been to cut over $200,000 of the budget in the past two years. And most of you know that, as a last resort, we laid off two full-time employees in March 2010.

Hunker Down? Just Say No

Presently, with our budget cuts in place, we’re not discussing further cutbacks. And actually the opposite is, as you know, true: the Lord is leading us to plant churches.

How can you help us move toward being active, even pro-active, in this area of spreading the gospel, and not withdraw into a hunker-down, let’s just pay our bills mentality?

Here is a question to consider: Have you taken a recent look at your giving to DSC?

One dynamic here from an administrator’s point of view: It helps a lot to have regular giving, and regular giving spread out evenly over the year. For instance, if it were a choice of one $12.00 check in December, or twelve $1.00 checks each month, I’d take the latter every time. A second dynamic: Please consider setting up your giving using our online service. This saves you the time of writing checks. Also, if you’re like me and can be forgetful at times, it prevents this from happening: “Oh I forgot to make the check out last month, I guess I better do twice the amount this month” (or sometimes you don’t even notice that you forgot last month).

If you would like to change your giving to online giving, click here or fill out a form at the Information Center to have your giving automatically deducted from a bank account.

1 of the 150: Sounds Like a Line from an Ancient Battle!

Here is one more question to consider: Have you considered signing up for the 1 of 150?

That is, those who have signed up have committed to giving an extra dollar a day in 2011 solely for the purpose of church planting. Please keep in mind that if you participate in this, this cannot be just re-allocating your giving. If the past couple years you’ve given $12.00 a year to DSC, it doesn’t help to have you simply say, “OK now we’ll give $10.00 to DSC in general, and $2.00 for church planting.”

Why $1.00 per day? That is just a starting point that we can all understand easily and grab hold of.  It’s helpful when trying to tackle a big project to break it up into bite-sized portions so that we can all make sacrifices together and produce, by God’s provision and grace, a huge impact in the world for His glory. Also, keep in mind that this commitment includes prayerfully considering an increase to $2.00 per day in 2012, $3.00 per day in 2013, and so on.

Why $2,500,000 over 10 years? This budget includes establishing four or more families over the next 10 years as global staff at DSC, and sending them to plant churches, Lord willing, in North Africa, among the unreached Muslims there, and sustaining their ministry as long as it takes to establish healthy, indigenously led, sustainable, and reproducing churches. It also includes sending out Carlos and Lauren Griego to plant a church in Rio Rancho in 2012 as well as raising up other church planters to go out after them in years to come.

If just twenty people responded to this email and contacted Clint at clint[at]desertspringschurch[dot]org, our missions director, and said, “Add my name to this list of 150,” that would be a big help in reaching this goal.

In Summary

I don’t know that there’s ever an opportune time to work on planning and rearranging finances.

So if not now, when? If not here (DSC regular giving, and church planting as extra giving), where? I know the answer for my wife and me, in response to the “when?” and “where?” is a clear “now” and “church.” In fact it’s been so, so exhilarating seeing the changes here at DSC. Musical worship is branching out in new areas, community groups are growing (in numbers and intentionality), and we’re more focused as a church on what the mission is and how we carry it out. And our strengths over the past seven or eight years–preaching and teaching, missions, and children’s ministries–have only deepened.

The thought of Matthew 6:21 is this, “Where your treasure is, your heart follows.” So where is our treasure? Let’s take time, today, and visualize this. Do our thoughts, work, and yes, money, get funneled towards seashells? Stuff that will one day end up in a landfill?

Or, like Ruby and the people that sent her, is our treasure in heaven? In relationships. In that part of Christ that we have a literal and tangible interaction with, His body, the church. In the gospel. In all people groups coming to worship Jesus. In the opposite of a landfill:  eternity and our future home, heaven!

Grace and peace,


Ron Giese
Administrative Pastor