Saturday, June 18, 2016

Back in the Black

Like so many churches, our church sometimes faces budget deficits and the need for “out of the box” creative solutions to our financial shortfalls. In recent weeks, ideas like a church thrift shop have been discussed. All well and good, I say, but why stop there? I’ve been thinking of some creative solutions myself. These are guaranteed to save us significant money, even as they will greatly impact our ministry!

Let’s start with our upcoming Vacation Bible School. Every year we spend literally hundreds of dollars on curriculum, snacks, etc. Why bother? Research shows us that little children are perfectly happy with “unstructured play,” so why not offer a “Theme Free VBS?” The playground would be
VBS trappings--who needs 'em?
available mornings that week, and while there’d be no spiritual program per se, God would definitely be mentioned (“Oh dear God, get down from that tree!” “God help you if you poke at his eye with that stick again!”) We really shouldn’t be expected to offer food or drink as the children are only with us for three hours, but the budget should stretch enough for tap water (drunk from the faucet to save on cups).

Our retired “Monday Morning Men” do a lot of the odd jobs around church anyway, so I would think adding lawn mowing and snow plowing to their list of chores would be no biggie! Plumbing, heating and elevator maintenance too—why pay? There are plenty of online tutorials to teach the guys how!

A solution that I have embraced at home when company comes that would certainly save the dollars at worship: dim the lights! This would eliminate the need for any vacuuming and dusting in the sanctuary and lobby, and give some sharp-sighted ushers something else to do: escort everyone to and from their seats on Sunday mornings.

As far as straight-up fundraising goes, special envelopes and capital campaigns will only get us so far. How about weekly raffles? Items to raffle off might include cases of communion wine, the 57 extra Bibles in my office, and a chance to choose the choir selections. Stevie Wonder? Barry

For the choir? Why not??

Manilow? Rap numbers from “Hamilton”? It’d be up to YOU! The organ itself could be sold, and replaced by resourceful music director Ken on the kazoo.

Other thoughts? Parking meters could be installed in the church lot, 25 cents for 20 minutes, 75 cent special for an entire communion service, however long it may last. We could sell ad space in our worship program. (“Break a leg to our favorite Acolyte! Love, Mom and Dad”) Pastor Vanderslice could (for a price) make himself available for bar mitzvahs, ship launchings and exorcisms. I would happily donate the fee for my services, if I could think of anything worthwhile I actually do.

Too bad Lutherans frown on paying for indulgences (what a cash cow for the Vatican THAT was). But as you can see, other solutions abound if we just use our heads! We can be “back in the black” in no time!