In common with a lot of organisations these days, the church is facing a hole in the budget that will take quite a lot of filling. It was already looking grim and then on having our electrics examined we find that we are not earthed and suddenly the question of what to do about the lighting in the main hall becomes a more pressing and more costly concern. We have little in the way of reserves to fall back on and no central body to bail us out.
So last night we voted through a budget with a deficit that is larger than our reserves with the huge provisos that we all need to reconsider our giving and that we need to monitor the situation monthly and take even more drastic action if necessary. One of the savings we are making is that I will be paid as part-time from January 1st. As a family this is fine, we are able to do that. It is for an initial three months period, though I suspect it will be for longer. We'll see.
The interesting pastoral situation? I suspect that I need to help people to come to terms with the decision. I think there is a tendency for some to feel that the church is failing because they can no longer afford a full-time or "proper" minister but actually, perhaps what we need to do is find a new way of doing church.
We face an uncertain future as a church and I suspect that a number of churches will face this in time as well. Suddenly we are forced to consider things from a completely different viewpoint, what the buildings are used for, what we are about as a church, and who does what. It's a little bit scary. And it's quite exciting to. Who knows what God will bring out of this?
I'm a middle aged man, a Baptist Minister, and more to the point an evangelical Christian. I have a great family, the best wife, an interest in music (mainly the sort of things that a middle aged man should like) and media in general. I like my sport and hardly ever play any. Will watch Test matches very happily and have a love of football, Exeter City are my club of choice.