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Living Mercy Week 1

Church board (CoM & Session) Finance Update

As a church we are blessed to have great resources at our disposal to advance the gospel, including both human and financial resources. These resources are only available because of the generous giving of our campus congregations, motivated by love for Jesus.

Part of our role as a church board (CoM & Session) is to ensure that we can resource our ministries in a way that is sustainable; and to provide transparency around how the money is spent.

This post summarises the update that was given at the 17 July Ministry Dinner on Living Church's finances and lets you know about some of the things the church board and the Ministry Executive Team are doing to ensure that we have sustainable finances moving forward.

 

Current budget status

The actual income received by Living Church has been below the budgeted level over the first six months of 2019. The key reasons for this are that (a) some of our larger givers have reduced their giving (b) some large one-off gifts that we received last year haven’t been received this year. On the other hand, regular givers have increased their giving, and we are thankful for this. 

On the expenses side, we have had lower expenses than budgeted, mainly due to lower than expected salaries and other costs. This has helped offset the reduced giving to some extent.

If the current trend continues, the church board is projecting a deficit at the end of the 2019, which will need to be funded by using some of our cash surplus.

Without taking action now, our cash balance will fall to a low level by the end of the year. In summary, our current budget position isn’t sustainable and needs to be improved.

 

What are we doing about it in the short term?

The church board (CoM & Session) has asked the Ministry Executive Team to put in place some savings measures for the remainder of 2019 to ensure we can maintain a sensible amount of cash in the bank.

These savings measures are designed to minimise the impact on Living Church ministries, and will include actions such as not filling vacant positions, and reducing advertising and printing costs.

In terms of the Carina redevelopment project, we will continue to complete the planning and Development Approval process using the contributions received into the project fund. At that point, we will make a decision on whether to proceed with the project or place it on hold.

 

What are we doing about it in the longer term?

While these savings will help get us through to the end of 2019, unless something changes, we will need to look at other changes to reduce costs and make the budget more sustainable in the longer-term

As part of this, the church board (CoM & Session) will be taking a very careful and considered approach to setting the budget for 2020.

One of the lessons from this year is that we have been quite reliant on large givers and large one-off giving. When those giving patterns change, it makes the budget vulnerable. So we need to come up with a better way of factoring this giving into the budget.

We will also be trying to do a better job as a church board in giving you visibility of the Budget, and provide more regular updates on how we are tracking throughout the year.

Please pray for the church board and the MET, that we would have wisdom in managing the finances and making decisions in the best interests of Living Church and the kingdom.

Living Mercy

Serve Opportunity - Morning Tea Team at Creek Road Campus

 
Morning Tea is a key way we connect.
Lovely food, warm cups of tea, strong coffee all come together to welcome.
If you enjoy baking or would like to help out with serving the tea - we would love to catch-up and have a chat about joining either of these two Teams.
Come & see the Next Steps Desk on Sunday morning if you're keen to help out.

Living Church - Prayer Points- 16/7/2019

This week for our staff meeting we read the following from Philippians.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

 

We then went around the circle and shared about the teams and individuals that we partner with in the gospel that bring us this same joy and thankfulness as we pray for them. It was encouraging to hear the stories of the people we walk alongside. After sharing the stories we were able to pray for all of them using the words from verses 9-11. 

We were able to hear about the Kids Community Connect Team and the joy it brought to see the team come together, young and old, new leaders and seasoned leaders alike. It was encouraging to hear about the young leaders that were doing more of the upfront stuff and we were thankful to the leadership team who did a great job throughout the whole week. 

We were thankful for our elders and managers who care about us and encourage us, for our cross cultural partners and numerous individuals whom I won't name separately. Thank you all for being an encouragement and we pray your love may abound more and more and that you may be filled with the fruit of the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God. 

 

Luke 6:35-36

Living Mercy - caring for our City

 

As we dig into Luke 15-19 in the coming term, we see again and again the call to care for the poor, for the vulnerable in our world. As believers living in the sanitised 21st century western culture, walking past the vulnerable is so easy. We just don’t see them. They may be hard to find, they feel the need to hide or they have been moved on. It is also possible that we don’t look, we forget to look for the vulnerable or we turn away from people who need care and love.

This is heart breaking when we think of the care and the love that Jesus has lavished on us when we were at our most vulnerable – when we were dead in our trespasses and sin. When were in need of a saviour.

Every term, the Series Companion leads us towards responding to the passage not just with our understanding, but also with our emotions and with our actions. Each term we seek to tailor all these sections with questions or activities that will help us grow in our relationship with God through becoming more like Jesus.

This term – a project has been developed in the space of our Hands questions. We’re calling the project, Living Mercy.

While there are definite areas where we as a church have made in-roads in caring for the vulnerable – there is still much to be done.

Often when you have a go at something, it is demystified and the difficulties that you anticipate lessen or melt away completely. So – here is our opportunity to begin loving the vulnerable in ways that really show the love of Jesus across our church. It will be challenging, it will be confronting but it will be worth it.

It will help you become more like Jesus and why would we avoid that?

If you would like more information - chat with your Growth Group Leader or email the Grow Team at grow@livingchurch.org.au

With much love

Andrea Pryde, Connect Grow Serve Director

 

Kids Community Connect Prayer - DAY 5

Day 5 – Love never fails

Big Idea: God’s love is real and dependable in the Bible, and is still the same for people today

Application: Trust God to follow through with his promises, even if it is not in the way we expect

For Prayer:

Specific prayer points for today:

  • Give thanks again for the smooth running of the week and the excellent weather
  • Give thanks for this opportunity to take part in God’s mission together within the local community
  • Pray for meaningful discussions during group time today – today during story time a video was shown of leaders stories and how God has shown his faithfulness in their lives
  • Pray that kids will consider ways that they can live out this week’s memory verse (Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects……Love never fails – 1 Cor. 13:4, 5b & 6, 7a & 8.)
  • Pray that kids may be challenged about how to respond to Jesus’ love and forgiveness
  • Pray that families will come along to church this Sunday, including those who don’t normally attend church – pray that they will join a church community
  • Pray for follow-up: leaders are sending postcards to each of the kids who came along

General prayer points for the week:

  • Pray for confidence and clarity for the upfront teaching team
  • Pray that the ‘big idea’ may sink deeply within each child and not be lost amidst the fun and excitement
  • Pray for meaningful conversations in small group discussions
  • Pray for a clear presentation of the gospel
  • Pray that kids may know that nothing can separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus
  • Pray for safety and stamina for kids and leaders
  • Pray for the health and wellbeing of all involved
  • Pray for the community kids and families who have had little or no contact with the church

Kids Community Connect Prayer - DAY 4

Day 4 – Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

Big Idea: Jesus’ love and forgiveness can change our lives

Application: Trust in Jesus and live more like he did

For Prayer:

Specific prayer points for today:

  • Continue to pray for meaningful discussions during group time –  Today’s aspects: Jesus love for ‘unloved’ people, Jesus came to seek and save the lost, Jesus can change lives, Jesus’ love and forgiveness
  • Give thanks for leaders finding strategies to engage kids in discussion
  • Pray that kids may be challenged about how to respond to Jesus’ love and forgiveness
  • Pray that leaders may have the opportunity to share with kids their own story of trusting in Jesus
  • Please pray for sustained health and energy levels for leaders
  • Please continue to pray for relationship building with kids and parents e.g. conversations at the church entrance when parents and kids enter and depart
  • Pray that families will come along to church this Sunday, including those who don’t normally attend church
  • Pray for follow-up: leaders are sending postcards to each of the kids who came along

General prayer points for the week:

  • Pray for confidence and clarity for the upfront teaching team
  • Pray that the ‘big idea’ may sink deeply within each child and not be lost amidst the fun and excitement
  • Pray for meaningful conversations in small group discussions
  • Pray for a clear presentation of the gospel
  • Pray that kids may know that nothing can separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus
  • Pray for safety and stamina for kids and leaders
  • Pray for the health and wellbeing of all involved
  • Pray for the community kids and families who have had little or no contact with the church

Creek Road Campus - Some Interim Ministry Roles

As most of you know our senior pastor Steve Cree is on extended leave which has just been extended another 3 months, The church board has decided recently that I should temporarily take on some extra ministry responsibilities here at the Creek Road Campus whilst Steve is on sick leave. These ministry responsibilities will include preaching, leading services, attending connect meals. Growth groups will remain the number 1 place that pastoral care takes place, but alongside Andrea in her role I will help make sure that everyone is cared for here at Creek Road campus. Some things in my role as Kids, Youth, Young Adults Director will have to be shifted to others, so it will not just be me carrying the load, but the whole team. I will also be less present at City South & Springfield campuses in this season, but will continue to work with the fantastic people on the ground there doing kids & youth ministry. Please pray for us all in this season.
Personally I am stepping into these roles because I love Jesus, I love Steve, & I love this church. This church is a wonderful community of believers who are already doing many great things, but also has the potential for even more. I am definitely praying that in this season we don't just cope, but push forward and thrive as we seek to reach out with the amazing love of Jesus to those around us.
If you have any questions about any of this I'm happy to chat with you at any time.
Chris Pine.