As we head into the new year, Eric, Mark, and Rod would like to provide an update for the church.
As you know, last year we anticipated spending more than we brought in, because we added Mark’s salary and increased Jessica’s time and salary. These changes were necessary due to the growth of the community. However, because of the two services, we also spend more on utilities and food costs than we did before. Our insurance rates also increased in 2019.
Our hope was that with the increased size of the community, giving would also increase to the point of absorbing these changes and that we would not have to dip into savings. As that did not happen, we ended up $7,494.91 short. Thank you to the generous response to our appeal in December which cut our anticipated deficit by $8,000 and also covered additional care for families over the holidays.
While anticipated, this shortage still reminds us that we are taking money from a savings account that will slowly dwindle over time. Should we continue in this way, we have another year or two in which we can continue as normal. As stewards of the building, we obviously have continuing maintenance issues to be concerned about in the future but we also wish to maintain staffing at its present level. One of the ways we are adjusting the budget this year is by cutting vacation pay for the pastors. If you have any questions about this, feel free to chat with any of the elders.
Monastic Communities have been a wonderful place for people to get plugged in to the community over the last few years. As we have grown, so have our Monastic Communities and this year we are going to be focusing on three key aspects of these groups moving forward: Eat, Play, Encourage. We gather around a table to eat together as part of our call to live life together. We play together so that we can know each other better and take joy in life. We encourage each other, especially in prayer, as part of our call from Hebrews 10:24-25 to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Our desire is that these groups would become smaller, with a core of 4-5 adults (along with any associated children) who get together once a month and are then able to invite others into their rhythms. Our hope in this is that more people would have capacity and feel equipped to host their own Monastic Communities. As these groups grow and invite new people, new groups can branch off to start again. In this way our Monastic Communities can live out our call to heal the city one person at a time and can continue to be a place for new people to get to know The Village.
Website, Posts, and Comments
We have also made changes to Villagersonline.com. Over the last six months, we have gotten a lot of feedback about the website. During fallow month, Jessica and Eric redesigned the website so that it was more accessible and streamlined. We also began inviting more people to post on the website via Sunday sign-up sheets, and we now have a steady stream of posts from the last several months that we hope will continue into the future. As of January 28th, we have also made it easier to comment on posts by eliminating the need to log in with a username and password. To comment now, you will be asked to insert your name and email address; a log-in is no longer required. We invite you to comment as you read people’s posts and encourage the writers who are sharing their thoughts and stories.