Delegates Approve $13.5 Million Budget for 2007

Post a Comment » Written on June 16th, 2006     
Filed under: News
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (June 16, 2006) – The 121st Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church unanimously approved a $13.5 million budget for fiscal year 2007 of which $9.13 million will be sought from local churches.

Giving to the Evangelical Covenant Church continued to grow modestly in 2005, and giving to special projects “was up very substantially,” Treasurer Dean Lundgren told the delegates. The denomination was able to balance its budget for the tenth year, Lundgren said.

“We appreciate the tremendous financial support that local Covenant churches give to fund our common mission, both through the Covenant Coordinated Budget and through separate project giving,” Lundgren said.

Lundgren said the budget is a theological statement that reflects the denomination’s priorities. “Through a Covenant Coordinated Budget, we join together to support the common mission and we provide the leadership and oversight to existing and mission initiatives.”

The departmental breakdown of the new budget is as follows:

  • World Mission – $5,162,000.
  • Church Growth and Evangelism – $3,251,000
  • Christian Formation – $895,000
  • Ordered Ministry – $597,000
  • Communication – $550,000
  • North Park University (including North Park Theological Seminary) – $1,140,000
  • General Administration – $1,905,000

Budget allocations seek to be consistent with what Lundgren called the “seven windows of ministry opportunity” as identified by the Council of Administrators and endorsed by the Executive Board:

  • Reach the unchurched, particularly the emerging generation
  • Press forward in ethnic ministry and diversity
  • Extend greater measures of compassion and justice to the poor
  • Attend to the health of existing congregations
  • Encourage the formation of spiritually mature disciples who live out obedience to Christ in the world
  • Call forth and equip women and men for all levels of church leadership
  • Pursue expanded strategic global opportunities and partnerships

Giving has grown from $8.3 million to $8.6 million over the last three years, Lundgren said. “We continue to be one of the strongest denominations in per capita financial stewardship,” he added. Based on past giving trends, the budget reflects projected individual giving of $56.73 per attendee per year.

Lundgren cautioned, however, that last year’s increase of 1.6 percent continues a trend of diminishing levels of increases – giving the previous year had been up 2.5 percent. Budget cuts of $270,000 were needed to balance the budget in 2005, Lundgren said, adding, “this is not a sound long-term approach for the Covenant to move forward in common mission.”

The current trend “could jeopardize our ministries, but also our extra budgetary projects because the core provides the infrastructure for our projects,” Lundgren noted. He explained that an annual increase in giving of four percent is needed if mission and ministry are to grow.

Although Coordinated Budget giving has been modest, giving to special projects – especially due to hurricane and tsunami relief – rose dramatically. Giving increased by $1.4 million to a total of $2.6 million – a 95 percent increase – from 2003 to 2004. Covenant generosity continued last year, with giving increasing to $3.8 million – an increase of 42 percent.

In response to Lundgren’s report, several delegates questioned whether the Covenant can afford the new Department of Compassion, Mercy and Justice delegates approved Thursday, and one delegate asked why no specific estimated annual cost for the new department was included in the materials.

The new department will cost a little more than $100,000 for the last six months of 2007, after the Annual Meeting approves an executive minister, Lundgren said. Costs will be higher in the years following, he said.

Lundgren said funding for the department will come in part from savings developed through the elimination of the vice president for administration position that was part of a restructuring package also approved by delegates on Thursday. Those duties have been spread among different departments, including the office of executive vice president.

Donn Engebretson also announced that the denomination has received a substantial gift from anonymous donors that is expected to generate income of approximately $50,000 a year in perpetuity. The money will not be used for administrative expenses, Engebretson explained, “but for new mission initiatives in local churches. It will change the life of the Covenant Church.”

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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