In an effort to more fully explain the 2022-23 budget and its process for North Shore Fellowship, allow me to provide the following comments.
Each year, our churches’ Finance Committee (comprised of several deacons, several elders, and our treasurer, along with non-voting supporting work from our bookkeeper and the pastors) meets with the staff approximately four months prior to July, to begin making recommendations for the following year. Routine in this process, we consider the health and challenges of the current year, and the needs and many requests from staff and the congregation for the coming year.
Based on our giving trends, needs and requests, and projections in growth and giving, and always with a faith element, the committee recommends a topline number (this year it was agreed on $1,550,000). This number is only for our General Operating Fund, and does not include separate designated giving to the Deacon’s Mercy Fund or the Frazier Avenue debt reduction. We then ask the staff to go about working with each department to develop personnel and program budgets within this overall budget allowance. During the four month process, the staff returns to the committee with its recommendations. These are discussed and challenged, and ultimately a budget is formed (sometimes the top line is adjusted based on collective reasoning on matters).
From here, the budget is sent to our Session as a “recommendation.” The Session makes the final determination for our church by approving and adopting the budget. We have used this process for all eighteen years of our existence.
We then give the congregation a brief explanation of the budget and how it is dispersed. The presentation was too brief for some who desire more detail as to how we are best using our money going forward. I’d like to supply that information here.
The budget itself is open for review by all members of North Shore Fellowship at anytime upon request. However, we have always just given the highlights at the annual congregational meeting.
Now to be more specific, the total budget is broken down into personnel and then fourteen other categories (see below). Historically, we have kept the personnel expenses aligned within the overall budget at approximately 63%. The other expenses are necessary for supporting their work and for growing the Kingdom both within and outside of our congregation. The percentages can be misleading since some important things don’t actually cost much. But there is a reason and history behind each category.
I am annually overwhelmed by the generosity of the congregation and the thoughtfulness of the staff in working through this very hard process to be conscientious and fair with all the various elements and the full outworking of the body of Christ. In the end, we, the Finance Committee and the Session, are your representatives, chosen by you to do this work.
I hope this explanation enlightens you on our processes and provides more confidence in the numbers presented. We are always open to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for allowing us to serve you in this manner!
For the Finance Committee, Session, and Staff