In a large church like St Nicholas the financial challenges are many, but our vision is clear - we long to see people exploring the riches of God’s word, being equipped to serve Him and to see the gospel being explained to more and more people.
As a church we have much to be thankful for and we are grateful to God for the resources provided which enable us, through His strength and direction, to work towards the aims of our Vision Statement .
God’s ongoing provision can be seen in all areas of our church life: In People - both to serve and to be served; in our Premises - to be used to enable the gospel to be spread across Sevenoaks and in our Financial resources - allowing a wide range of church activities to take place, for us to fulfil our obligations to the Diocese and to support our worldwide mission partners.
In November we presented our financial outlook for 2020 to the congregations by means of a powerpoint presentation. In summary:
Expenditure - Clergy costs, Ministry and Diocesan costs, Outreach & Services costs, Management & Admin costs, Premises costs: totalling approx £1,026,000.
In addition, the Mission Fund has a target of £212,000.
Income - The financing of ministry at St Nicholas, Grace and 4' O Clock is all met by the sacrificial giving of many gifts large and small from our congregations. We are very grateful for gifts received and the support of a large number of people giving regularly.
Our presentation showed that projected giving for 2019 and 2020 is not sufficient to cover present levels of ministry and other costs. This is because we have seen a reduction in gift income over the past couple of years as some substantial givers have retired or moved away, but our costs have risen as we have expanded gospel ministry. The deficit is substantial and clearly not sustainable, so the PCC is taking a number of actions to ensure that our finances remain in good order with balanced income and expenditures and with adequate reserves.
Firstly, we have shared the situation with you and ask that you please prayerfully review your giving to St Nicholas and return a Pledge and Gift Aid form if you are a taxpayer. An electronic version is available below and hard copies are on the Welcome desks at our services. Please could we ask every giver to complete a form for 2020 so that we can plan more effectively.
Secondly, the PCC has initiated plans for a strategic review of all of our ministry to be handled by John Truscott, one of the St Nicholas Church Trustees in February 2020. The aim of this review is to look at all areas of current ministry to consider whether existing resources are being used in an optimal way and whether there is scope for rethinking our approach to make better use of resources, including non-ministry support staff.
Finally, the PCC has accepted a conditional offer from Sevenoaks Gospel Trust to purchase 23 Beech Road used to house some of our ministry staff. SGT will offer the property for continued use as long as required by St Nicholas. The sale needs to be completed this year in order to restore our cash reserves and provide time to complete necessary reviews and plan for the future. We are very grateful to Sevenoaks Gospel Trust for their support.
These are challenging times and there are many complex, difficult and uncomfortable issues. Please pray for the Finance Group and PCC as we seek to be faithful stewards of your gifts and enable effective Gospel Ministry in our town. Thank you for your support - and please don’t forget the pledge and gift aid forms – details are on the website along with all other information on our finances.
Completing your pledge form for 2020 as soon as possible will give us a clearer picture of how many tough choices we need to make.
We each have a part to play - however large or small. So please take this opportunity to give thanks for God’s generosity in your life and to respond accordingly.
Whatever size your gift, please pledge it, give it, gift aid it and consider willing it so that the work can continue.
Standing order details for both the general fund and the mission fund can be obtained from the church office or the gift administrator.
Whatever our gifts, in Romans 12: 1-13 Paul expected each member of the church to throw themselves wholeheartedly into what they did: “If it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then encourage; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
See also the Rector’s letter for November 2019