Happy New Year! No, I am not confused, I realize it is not January. But, in our world at the Missouri Baptist Foundation, our fiscal-year ends on Sept. 30. A fiscal-year is any 12-month period selected for accounting purposes. While most churches and many businesses use the calendar year, others – based on their particular business field – may choose another. We use the Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 time frame, just like the federal government, but don’t confuse us with them.
Every church of which I have been a part, has always used the calendar year as their fiscal year, but that may not always be the wisest decision. Our largest offering month was always in December. So, if your annual budget ends the same month you receive your largest gifts, you really are not able to forward-plan ministry effectively.
You may have underspent ministry initiatives because you were not sure you would meet the budget. Thereby leaving ministry, which could have been accomplished throughout the year, on the table because of fear. But, if you receive less to “cover the cost” of the ministry you have already done, well, you have a whole different kind of problem.
I am not here to advocate one way or the other (we are Baptist after all with no Baptist being able to tell another Baptist what they should do), but with many church ministries starting at the beginning of the school year, a non-calendar fiscal year is it at least worthy of a discussion.
No matter how you mark time, we know that time marches on. Which is why as we come to this point in the calendar, after school has started and before the holidays, it is the perfect time for planning. So grab your pumpkin spice latte, your pumpkin flavored blizzard, and your pumpkin scented house shoes and pull up a chair.
If you serve on your stewardship committee at church, now is the perfect time to invite MBF to help you put together a financial plan for your church. Whether it is replacing a roof on your church building next year, expanding your children’s area immediately or securing the church’s financial future, our Financial Strategy Design team will help your church create a plan to fund ministry Today, Tomorrow and for Ten Thousand Tomorrows.
And if you are an individual who doesn’t have a will, powers of attorney, or a legally recognized plan for guardianship for your minor children, today is the day you should start the process. I have met personally with over 20 couples in the last couple of months helping them think through what they would want to happen in case something happened to them.
At the completion of the process, each couple was relieved to know that if something were to happen to them, that the Missouri Baptist Foundation would be there to assist their children in the transition. It was a double blessing to ensure that their life savings would not go to probate fees or the government but to their intended purposes. One couple has even chosen to leave part of their estate to their church.
Just like planning for retirement, the best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is today. So, before the pumpkin flavored potato chips are replaced by the gingerbread ones, why not reach out to the MBF to get started so when the New Year really comes, you will have a new plan in place for your church and your family.