Initial planning for the ministry financial plan

During the month of August, all areas of the synod’s ministry began initial work on the synod’s Ministry Financial Plan (budget) for the next 2015-2017 biennium.

The first step in the process was the adoption of a “support forecast.” This is an estimation, based on future projections and historical patterns, of the financial support from all sources likely to be available in the next two years. This forecast will continue to be modified as circumstances change in the next six to eight months.

The current forecast is a conservative one. It asks areas of ministry to submit plans that assume no increase in financial support over the current year. Since our prayer is that available financial support will increase, areas of ministry have also been asked to outline their plans if God blesses us with such increases.

Once the various areas of ministry and other departments submit their initial proposals, it is the responsibility of the synod president to craft a comprehensive Ministry Financial Plan for the entire work of the synod. An initial draft of this comprehensive plan is presented to the President’s Advisory Council in late September for reaction and suggested modifications. The plan, with any changes made, is then submitted to the Synodical Council (SC) for its initial consideration in November. In February, after the 2015 Congregation Mission Offering subscriptions are received and other financial information becomes available, the SC will adopt a final version of the plan and bring its recommendation to the synod convention next July. Along with the plan that it presents to the convention, the SC will also present a list of “unfunded priorities,” that is, programs and ministries that will be carried out if additional funding becomes available.

Even though this process involves a lot of discussion about dollars, it’s really not about money; it’s about ministry and how we work together to carry out the mission that God graciously given to us. The hours of planning for all involved reflects our desire to be faithful stewards of the financial resources God provides, to seize the opportunities that God is placing before us, and to provide the people of our synod with the information necessary to make wise and God-pleasing decisions about the work that we do together.

Serving in Christ,

President Mark Schroeder