Financial Management Workshop – November 2023
Another Financial Management Workshop is in the Book!
On Saturday, November 4, over forty people from Highlands
Presbytery and beyond gathered by Zoom
for our annual Financial Management Workshop.
It was a full morning, with a lot of information and engagement,
coming to us from experts across the denomination.
Carrie Mitchell from the Board of Pensions kicked off the event, reminding us that “The Board of Pensions is here for you” — and there are a lot of us covered by the Board, over 65,000 church employees. As a way to sum up the Board’s mission, now in its 306 th year, she shared a statement recently-discerned by its leadership: “The church’s provision of benefits for its employees is holy work.”
But “the Spirit of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), and the plans and programs that the Board offers seek to be responsive to our 21 st century needs. This “Season of Rebuilding” includes a variety of changes, with major shifts coming in “Medicare Advantage” and restructuring the benefits plan.
More information will be forthcoming as final approval is received, but to get more information on what is anticipated, see Carrie’s presentation on the video for this workshop, as well as other videos and Powerpoint slides available on the Highlands Presbytery website. Please remember: it can take a few weeks for us to post items.
You can also go to seasonofrebuilding.pensions.org.
Our second presenter was Catherine Lynch of the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, which offers several loan programs, of which a number of Highlands Presbytery’s churches are currently benefiting from. In particular, Catherine highlighted PILP’s Restoring Creation Loan, available to qualifying congregations that work to make their church buildings more energy efficient. It provides lower interest rates and other advantages on such things as solar panel installation, high efficiency HVAC systems, energy efficient lighting, insulation, roofing systems, and more.
It can take up to two to three months to go from application to actually receiving funds, so plan accordingly.
Rose Niles of the Presbyterian Foundation was the next presenter, sharing that the popular Financial Analysis Tool for Congregations will be back on their website, as the General Assembly is now collecting that financial information once again. Additionally, the Online Giving Tool and accompanying resources are being upgraded. Both of these will be available in January 2024.
Rose also highlighted the variety of educational and programming resources available through the Foundation. The Church Financial Leadership Academy (www.churchfla.com) offers many training opportunities, including building a Narrative Budget giving the theology, or why, of the budget, rather than simply the line-item amount. Supplementing this is the free Church Financial Leadership (CFL) Coaching Program and its Stewardship Navigator, which helps you actually create that narrative budget. Then you can tell the stories of what is your church about and what it really loves.
There are a number of free seminars and webinars available for your many stewardship and investment needs. You can get more information on the Presbyterian Foundation’s website, and you can get more information here.
Guidelines for Financial Activity in the Church: A Treasurer’s Handbook
Our final presenter on the day was someone well known to many of you, Highlands Presbytery’s own Pete Peterson, Co-Moderator of the Administration and Coordinating Team and a member of Clinton Presbyterian Church. He is also a certified and very experienced Church Business Administrator.
Pete walked through major portions of the Treasurer’s Handbook, peppering his presentation with examples and learnings borne of his life experience. He emphasized that regardless of church size, policies are important because they standardize the way we do things, make sure the important things that need to get done get done. These policies and other contents of our Manual of Operations provide clarity and transparency and reduce or manage anxiety in a congregation and its leadership.
This part of the workshop continued our practice of cycling through different portions of the handbook, allowing us to cover it in its entirety, with its changes along the way, over several years of workshops.
Guidelines for Financial Activity in the Church: A Treasurer’s Handbook can be found on the Highlands Presbytery’s website here, and Pete’s informative and back-to-the-basic’s presentation will be available on the video found here.
Mark your calendars now for the first Saturday in November, for our next Financial Management Workshop.