Over a year ago we experienced a multi-sided hit to Association finances. In a three-month period finances went from healthy to depleted. When I met with the Executive Board next I told them we had been hit by a financial perfect storm.
The Association isn’t a money-making business and has always reinvested all of its funds back into ministries. All of the officers and event directors serve on a volunteer basis. I have been in the Association since its founding in 1981 and can attest that God has always provided. However, it was usually just enough and just in time.
There were many times when God’s timing tested our faith and had the Board sweating. As our annual ministry events approached funds would be shifted between event accounts to cover early costs, and shifted back as new funds came in. To give a little cushion of relief I introduced the Share Card Program to the Executive Board many years ago. That extra income from individual donors has been a fresh blessing on many occasions since.
About 15 months ago in a quarterly Executive Board Meeting, our Treasurer presented a typically tight but sufficient report on Association finances. Three months later we had run into a significant deficit. In began when two of our largest ministry events had significant deficits in their balance sheet. It doesn’t take much to produce this; a drop in attendance numbers with little change in expenses. Many times the Board counted on a ministry event’s overage of event income to help level out financial lows until church and individual donations came in.
In the same quarter there was a significant, unexplained lapse in regular church donations. A few of the churches were going through leadership transitions. These factors all occurred while still trying to keep the same level of financial commitment to missions, and so the perfect storm.
To restore fund balances to each of the Event accounts and replenish the General fund for expenses, the Board made the difficult decision to direct all income to these priorities. In the ensuing months churches in transition caught up on giving and individuals made special donations. Event directors strove to balance income and expenses as well, and as a result the Treasurer’s report in the June 23, 2012 Executive Board Meeting showed we had reached our goals. Praise the Lord.
With all this the Board has decided to prioritize funding our annual ministry events and regular expenses. In the future, giving beyond these will be evaluated as funds become available.