Last Monday evening we had our monthly Called Session Meeting. This meeting included our elders-elect who will be ordained and installed this coming Sunday. The elders-elect brought a new energy to our meeting. This is the time of year when we are seeking to finalize our ministry and mission budget for the new year. 2019 was a good year for JCPC when it comes to giving. You may remember that our giving income was ahead of our mission and ministry expenses throughout most of the year. This was due, in part, to generous gifts of about $80,000 by some of our members, who gave above and beyond their normal pledge to make the 2019 mission and ministry budget a reality.
However, our 2020 ministry and mission needs are greater than the pledges we have received. So, our session is wrestling with how to address those needs. Our Ministry Teams are in the process of looking at their requested budgets for 2020 to see where reductions can be made. Our session is also exploring ways to increase our income to close the gap. In the coming weeks, the congregation will be hearing more about this need through both a church-wide letter and an announcement in a worship service by some of our elders.
When our Session met this past Monday, what impressed me most in the meeting was not only the energy, but the interest and the ideas shared by our elders, both old and new, about how we might move forward and make this work. Over the years my experience in churches has been that budget discussions can be very difficult. And while the challenge is there for us this year, I am grateful for the way our elders have struggled well and come together to address this challenge.
Please keep our elders and our staff in your prayers in the coming days. Please be praying that God would open our minds, our hearts, and maybe even our checkbooks, so that we might come together and do everything that God wants us to do in 2020. If we are open to the leading of God's Spirit, I believe we can discern the way forward that God wants us to follow.