The Committee recognized a time of great promise for the church. The church is blessed with great preaching and clergy leadership. The church’s committees are populated with active and dedicated members. The church’s ministries are meeting needs and carrying God’s love to an astonishing variety of people and institutions. The church’s congregation is blessed with increasing numbers of young adults and families. The church’s finances are improving through successful stewardship campaigns and endowment growth. In total, the Committee witnessed a renewed enthusiasm and willingness to grasp the future of the church.
The Committee concluded that, despite challenges, the church’s financial state presents an opportunity to build on the church’s history and ensure that our future mission rests on a firm financial foundation. Although the recommendations in the report were the Committee’s alone, the Committee consisted of representatives from the Session, the Trustees, the Deacons, and the Diaconal Ministers. The recommendations were those representatives’ collective view of the best strategy for reaching a sustainable future. Summarized below, the recommendations are a snapshot of the Committee’s consensus in early 2013 and were offered to facilitate a conversation about our future.
~The Committee recommended that the Personnel Committee review the church’s staffing needs. Our staff enables our mission every day and constitutes a substantial and essential portion of our operating budget. A review of our staffing needs should ensure that staff resources match church’s needs. It should verify that our staff is being used mindfully and efficiently.
~The Committee recommended that the church develop a long-term strategy for maintenance of the church’s building. Our building deserves the respectful care appropriate to our missions’ home and our center of worship. At the time the Committee reported to the Session, the Trustees were actively developing plans for a building maintenance project consistent with this recommendation.
~The Committee recommended that the Trustees review the church’s policies for building space rental by external groups. The rental policies impact the church’s mission and its finances. From a mission perspective, policies on rent levels are choices about where the church focuses its resources. From a finance perspective, rents contribute to annual revenue and renters make demands on the staff, the building, and its infrastructure.
~The Committee recommended that the Funds Development Cluster continue to work creatively to increase revenue, including identification of new sources of funding.
~The Committee recommended that the church continue efforts to sustain existing members and encourage new members. Each active member contributes to the vitality of our community. Each active member has time, talent, and resources that help realize our mission.
~The Committee recommended that the church move toward a holistic approach to financial planning. The annual operating budget has never captured all the church’s mission-related spending. Nor has it captured the breadth of generosity that sustains the church. Its incompleteness risks deceiving us when we attempt to manage the church’s finances prudently.
~The Committee recommended that the church strive to adopt modern technology efficiently in all of its activities. At the time the Committee reported to the Session, a Trustee-supervised IT Committee was already improving how the church used information technology to achieve its mission.
~The Committee recommended that the church continue to identify new opportunities to conserve resources for our mission. Just as the staff preserved thousands of dollars by renegotiating service contracts and reducing energy use in 2012, so to the whole church should creatively seek savings in the future.
The Committee continues to believe that its report creates a useful basis for discussing our church’s future. The church faces challenges of great complexity, but we are convinced that those challenges do not diminish the brightness of that future. We encourage all members to read the report and look forward to their thoughtful feedback.
Members and friends of the church can obtain a copy of the report, titled “A Strategy for a Sustainable Annual Operating Budget and Improving Financial Management at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church,” by contacting the church office at (202) 393-7300, by emailing the staff at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by emailing the current chair of the Finance Committee, Mike Smith, email@example.com.