Dear Oak Hills Family,
There are many wonderful things happening at Oak Hills as we continue to reach, grow and serve! We continue to serve children and families in Kids’ Ministry, challenge and grow teens and adults in Youth Ministry and adult small groups, are weekly encouraged and challenged as we come together in worship, serve and reach our community through various compassion ministries, and the list goes on. Oak Hills is a vibrant place! Along with those prominent and easy to see things, there are also less apparent administrative aspects that we would like to bring to your attention. Please stick with me!
While attending the Stewardship Summit, one of the major points I picked up was balancing responsibility and faith. At times, it may feel as though they are in conflict. As we steward his resources responsibly, we are also challenged to move in ways that evidence our trust that God will provide. I am feeling that tension right now as we regularly discuss finances at church. You may remember our end-of-year letter stating we were behind budgeted giving. That gap has now widened to $68,000 as of the end of January. You may be asking “How are we $68,000 behind budget and still paying our bills?” That is a fair question. We build a budget every year that has both "have to" (ex: Staff, utilities) and "need to" (savings, maintenance, mission initiatives) aspects. However, increased costs everywhere, coupled with heavy snowfall, provide the perfect example as we've already exceeded our snow removal budget this year with much of winter yet to come.
Being behind in giving means, at this point, we have been able to pay our "have to" or basic bills, but may not allow us to accomplish some things that we feel called to pursue ("need to" aspects). In the months prior, we have been diligently working on, planning for, and assessing new initiatives: hiring an Associate Pastor of Worship and Outreach, replacing a declining heating/cooling unit, updating the sanctuary, and implementing some additional groups and/or service projects, just to name a few. We’ve also discussed, and are still working toward the goal of paying off the remainder of our mortgage in the next 12 months.
Here is what we’d ask of you:
Pray with us, asking for wisdom and discernment as to how we proceed in 2023. Pray for insight as we proceed responsibly and in faith. Which projects or expenses should we eliminate or postpone?
Participate in financial giving. The church needs everyone giving regularly. Give back to the Lord what is already his as an act of worship. Give as you are called and able. “Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor 9:7 We are not necessarily seeking large one-time gifts, rather desire for our entire congregation to experience the joy that comes from regular giving. Together, we can move toward faithful, generous, purposeful stewardship of our finances.
We have the option of a weekly automatic deduction from your bank account for your tithe. I’ve done this for years and feel it is the easiest way to tithe. Also, this is one of the few ways that Oak Hills doesn’t have to pay a transaction fee. The other online options charge us for those services. If you’d like to consider the automatic deduction, just call the church office and Leanne will get you set up.
Council and the Financial Advisory Team will continue to pray and discuss what 2023 might look like for Oak Hills. We will have a congregational meeting in March to update you on our status. Until that time, please spend time going to God with this and considering your own balance of responsibility and faith. We appreciate all of you!