Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

Last week we finished our fiscal year and I wanted to report back to you the results. As you know, mid-year we found ourselves facing a deficit. We were running significantly behind budgeted income and projected a deficit of about $500,000 for the fiscal year. Of course, as every responsible family does, we reined in our spending. But we also chose to continue to prioritize our benevolence giving of 25 cents on every dollar—10 percent to local and global outreach partners, and 15 percent to our “Beyond These Walls” commitment. This meant we were facing dreadful cuts of $500,000 to staff and programs in order to live within our means. 

We shared all of this with you back in December as well as our revised five-year vision going forward. Then…we prayed…and waited…to see how you, my Sweetheart Church, would respond to that half million-dollar gap.  

It is my delight to share that news with you now. As of June 30, the end of our fiscal year, we had received $616,178 toward our $500,000 “Close the Gap” goal! Incredible! That still puts us $44,284 under the original 2023 budgeted income but we addressed that remaining shortfall through spending cuts. 

There is so much to be celebrated here! Once again, as you have done countless times in my 35 years of service to you, you have responded with incredible generosity to ensure that the mission of Jesus is fulfilled at Chapel Hill. How many times have I said, “Thank you!” for your faithful, faithful giving? Don’t know. Lost count. But once again, please hear those words from the bottom of your pastor’s heart: THANK YOU! 

And…please don’t take your foot of the gas! Although we made up the gap, we were still short of our budgeted income. Because economic uncertainties and inflationary pressures continue, we have made cuts to next year’s budget. Several staff positions have been either eliminated or reduced to accomplish this.  We will always live within our means.  

Bottom line on the bottom line: we closed out our year strong…AND…we are planning more conservatively for next year in light of our continuing economic pressures. So, please receive my heartfelt thanks….AND…please continue to support generously the incredible work God is doing in our midst, will you?  

In early August we will have an annual “State of the Church” dessert in the Gathering Place. At that time, you will meet and hear from our elders and pastors as we present the financial summary of 2023, a more detailed report on our “Beyond These Walls” investments (amazing!), a glimpse of our vision going forward, and you’ll be able to ask any questions you might have. We’ll let you know the date and time very soon, so keep your eyes open.

I look forward to being with you tomorrow as I preach from one of those passages that you might prefer to skip! I think it will be provocative…and powerful. 

Pastor Mark