2019 Budget Amendment Proposal

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV).

 

At the upcoming members meeting this Sunday, April 28, the elders are proposing a budget amendment that would increase pastoral staff salaries, effective May 1, 2019. My aim in writing this article is to explain why we are proposing this amendment to the budget, and to provide some details of the proposed change.

 

LOOKING BACK

First, let me begin by explaining how the elders arrived at the 2019 budget as it currently stands. The elders took a conservative approach in putting together the church’s budget for 2019. If you remember, from 2018 to 2019, we lowered our budget by over $105,000. Why the reason for such a large decrease in the budget?

There are usually a variety of factors that go into such a decision, but the driving factor was that our giving was down in 2018. Our general fund income for 2018 was $1,223,963, which was about $64,600 less than our giving in 2017. With these numbers in mind, and in an effort to be wise stewards with the resources God has entrusted to this church, the elders proposed a more conservative budget for 2019.

Looking back, we believe this was a wise decision that has served us well so far in 2019. However, we have come to realize in recent days that we were too conservative in one area of great importance, and this is the part of the budget that accounts for pastoral staff salaries. This realization has led to the proposed budget amendment I am now addressing, which would increase pastoral staff salaries, if approved this Sunday evening. But before I get into the details of the proposal, let me elaborate on some reasons behind the proposal.

WHY INCREASE PASTORAL STAFF SALARIES?

The largest percentage of High Pointe’s budget goes to the gospel workers serving this church. This is by design. We gladly support gospel workers serving around the world, and by God’s grace we set aside over 10% of our budget year after year for the spread of the gospel to the nations. But we also joyfully support the gospel workers here at High Pointe, and we seek to do so as we’re taught by Scripture.

In 1 Timothy 5:17-18, Paul instructs us on how we are to care for the elders of the church. He says, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer deserves his wages.’”

We seek to care well for the pastors that God has gifted this church with, to lead it, and to care for it, but this also has implications for how we care for all of the gospel workers at High Pointe, which includes all of our pastoral staff. The pastoral staff begins with its pastors, but it also includes its ministry directors and pastoral assistants. All of these men have been gifted by God. They are faithful gospel workers, and they have families they provide for.

As a church, we seek to be generous as our Heavenly Father is generous. After all, “he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV). We desire to be generous in all things, and this includes how we compensate the gospel workers that serve this church.

In 2018, we performed extensive research on compensation. We began with church compensation data, but we also utilized some secular benchmarks, including compensation data from local High Schools in the Austin-metro area. Our research revealed that some of our pastoral staff were likely under-compensated.

So, we made an effort to start addressing these in 2019. Unfortunately, we came to realize in recent days that we didn’t go far enough. Austin is a rapidly growing city where cost-of-living expenses are rising, making it an increasingly expensive place to live. Part of our more recent research included obtaining compensation data from like-minded churches, which confirmed the need for salary increases.

THE GOOD NEWS

There is good news, however. At the very same time we have realized the need to amend our budget, God has poured out his blessings on High Pointe’s finances. Giving has improved thus far in 2019. Through the 1st Quarter of 2019 (January 1 – March 31, 2019), we have a surplus of $15,533. While this doesn’t guarantee that our giving will be as strong for the remainder of 2019, it does bring great encouragement to see such a large surplus!

1st Quarter giving in 2019 was $47,952 higher than our 1st Quarter in 2018. Now, our 2019 giving included a 5th Sunday in March, while there weren’t any 5th Sundays in the 1st Quarter of 2018, but regardless, our giving is clearly ahead of 2018 so far. The improvement in our giving thus far in 2019 has also allowed us to slowly build up our reserves, and as of April 22, 2019, we now have over $31,000 in savings!

While we do not yet know what the rest of 2019 will look like, we do find ourselves in the best financial position we have ever been in, and your pastors are more encouraged by the overall financial picture of the church than ever before. So we ask you to join us in (1) Praising God from whom all blessings flow!, and (2) Continuing in generosity with your regular giving, especially as we approach the summer months which historically bring lower giving.

THE PROPOSED BUDGET AMENDMENT

With all this in mind, the elders are proposing a $26,366 increase to the 2019 budget for the sole purpose of better caring for the pastoral staff here at High Pointe. We couldn’t imagine a better time to proceed with the necessary changes to care for our staff as our giving has clearly improved thus far in 2019. This is also a minimal increase to the overall budget, allowing us to still have a conservative budget when compared to previous years. The proposed budget for 2019, after the increase of $26,366, is $1,387,418. This is still over $79,000 less than our 2018 budget of $1,466,715.

We made the proposed amendment to our 2019 budget available in the church library on Easter Sunday. It will be available again this Sunday morning. Let me encourage you to pick up a copy if you haven’t already, so you can see the changes before our meeting on Sunday night. Please feel free to email me personally at davey@highpointeaustin.org, call the church office (512-837-7725), or catch me after the morning service this weekend if you have any questions.

On behalf of the elders, I want to thank you, High Pointe, for your generosity. We praise God for his provision, and we look forward to seeing what he will do in the rest of 2019 and beyond.

Love,

Pastor Davey