by Jac La Tour
The intersection of faith and planning can be a mysterious crossroads, where the signs aren’t always clear. Consider the experience of Boca Raton Community Church in Florida.
Recognizing the importance of adequate cash reserves, the church’s leadership embarked on a plan to build its reserves. Several months into the plan, it seemed prudent to use a portion of those growing reserves to pay down principal on the church’s mortgage. There was also a faith component to this plan; it was based on the expectation of increased giving. At the crossroads of this exercise in faith and planning, the anticipated giving didn’t materialize.
Church Business Manager John Barbar says “it was with good intentions” that reserves were used in this way. And it made sense to reduce the church’s indebtedness with the surplus funds. What was waiting at the crossroads, as it turned out, was a learning opportunity, one that has the church headed in a healthier direction.
“We started a two-year One Fund initiative,” John explains, “with one of the goals being to create a six- month cash reserve. We are halfway through the initiative, and God has worked in the hearts of his people. We are well on our way to creating the reserve once again.”
Senior Pastor Bill Mitchell points to prayer as the power behind the One Fund initiative’s effectiveness. “We asked people to pray for 30 days and then ‘do whatever God tells you to do,’” he says. They also made it a priority to tithe from the church’s resources just as people in the congregation were being asked to tithe from theirs.
Why six months of reserves? John says the church recognizes the importance of having enough cash to cover six months of operations and any capital emergencies that might arise. But the benefits of having sufficient reserves extend far beyond finances.
“Having the reserves has really expanded our vision for ministry,” John says, “and freed our senior leadership from the weekly cash flow burden. God has used it to open up new ministries.”
Cash reserves is part of any sound stewardship strategy. For more insights on how to build adequate reserves and better manage your ministry’s finances, visit www.eccu.org/savings-resources.