Financial Support

 

Unified Budget

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

The ACC Church Council has decided to move to a Unified Budget that promotes church unity and simplifies the Estimate of Giving collected during the annual Stewardship campaign.  A task force has worked to promote understanding, to collect feedback and to refine the details of the Unified Budget.  These FAQs represent common questions that members had during this process and the collective responses of the Church Council and task force members.

 


 

What is the Unified Budget?

The Church Council has decided to combine our two annual estimates of giving for Local Ministries (LM) and Missions & Outreach (M&O) into a single amount and unify the church's budget for all income and expenses/giving.

What initiated the change to a Unified Budget?

During discussions about this change, there were many reasons that gave rise to this change. Most significant was a sense that unifying the church's giving was a step in keeping the congregation unified. The pressure and dynamics of church finances over the past 5 or more years has resulted in less unity around how the church allocates the annual Estimate of Giving and other sources of income, and this change to a Unified Budget is in response to this trend.

How is a Unified Budget better than what we do now?

With a Unified Budget, the church as a whole takes responsibility for funding all our ministries and charitable giving. A Unified Budget means ACC speaks with one voice when determining how best to allocate all our financial resources. In particular, we are now committing as a church to become a tithing congregation and support our charities with 10% of our income.

How will the Unified Budget affect our Annual Appeal?

During the Swift Express, there will only be 1 line for your pledge amount on the Estimate of Giving card. This single contribution to our Unified Budget, along with other church income, will fund what previously were the separate Local Ministries and Missions & Outreach budgets. Church Council recommends you add your two Estimates of Giving from last year to determine your new unified pledge, and as always, prayerfully consider increasing this amount for next year, as your circumstances allow.

How will pledge income be distributed?

Starting in January of 2016 (including pre-payments), ACC will become a tithing church. 10% of pledge income, along with 10% of other church income, will be transferred to the M&O account each month to fund the missions we support as a church. The remaining pledge income will support our other ministries through other Church committees and boards.

Will this affect the way the M&O Committee operates?

No. The M&O Committee will continue to operate as it has in the past, and will continue to determine which charities we fund and what level of funding our charities receive from us.

Will this affect the timing of M&O disbursement of funds to the organizations we support?

No. The M&O Committee distributes money to charities throughout the year, once the new committee settles into its responsibilities. The timing of M&O disbursements will remain the same under the Unified Budget as it has been in prior years.

How are other church incomes divided?

The spirit of this change is that the Church is unified in its budget allocations and its support of missions at 10%. Therefore, 10% of all other church income will also be allocated to Missions and Outreach giving.

Are there any exceptions to the 10% rule for missions funding?

Yes. Income from any fund that has previously been designated for a specific purpose, such as the Ministers' Housing Fund and the Facilities Improvement Fund, will remain solely for that purpose. Likewise, gifts that are designated for a specific purpose will only be used for that purpose. The Trustee's Discretionary Fund will also not be used to fund missions, since the source of discretionary funds is unused Local Ministries funds from previous years that was already split with M&O.

Will these exceptions change in future years?

The Trustees may identify future exceptions with input and co-ordination from Church Council, which includes the Chairs of Trustees, Deacons and, as of this year, M&O (to be confirmed as a voting member with a By-Law amendment in 2016). The M&O representative will not only have a vote, but also advocate for Missions & Outreach.

What about the Thrift Shop receipts?

The Thrift Shop is a separate legal entity from ACC, and has its own accounting. Historically, the Thrift Shop has given 10% of its receipts to mission work, and donated the remainder to ACC's budget to fund our other ministries. The missions that they support are also supported by M&O. This will not change as a result of the Unified Budget.

Will this affect what groups/ministries are funded by M&O?

No. The M&O Committee will continue to have full control over which groups receive our support and what level of support we give to each group. There has been a suggestion that some groups that M&O now supports be funded out of other church accounts. The change to the Unified Budget does not include any such changes to mission funding.

Will M&O be able to "carry over" funds from one year to the next?

Yes. M&O will not be subject to the "use it or lose it" approach that other church accounts are subject to. M&O funds are designated for charitable giving and will remain in the M&O account until disbursed by the M&O Committee.

When is the M&O percentage determined for the coming year, and how will it be communicated to the congregation?

Church Council, which has a purview beyond Local Ministries has adopted a written policy that 10% of all church income be allocated to M&O yearly. The Trustees reviewed this policy and are committed to the 10% level of funding. Any change to this allocation of income requires changes in this Council policy, in consultation with M&O and Trustees. Since we cannot anticipate windfalls or shortfalls in the future, the Council plans to review the policy and level of funding at least every 5 years.

Who will monitor this change and consider any adjustments?

Church Council is closely monitoring the first year of implementation and will make adjustments as needed. The Council was formed to represent the congregation in matters such as this, and includes the Chairs of Trustees, Deacons and, as of this year, M&O (to be confirmed as a voting member with a By-Law amendment in 2016).

How will the Unified Budget affect M&O?

The M&O committee sees firsthand the impact of our church's significant level of giving on local and global ministries, and we want, like the entire congregation, to see this remain a "pillar" of our congregation. Over the past 5 years, the money given to M&O has decreased at a faster rate than that given to local ministries, though this has recently stabilized. Assuming total income is unchanged next year, the Unified Budget keeps M&O funding at its current level and stabilizes M&O cash flow.

Do the Trustees and Church Treasurer support this change?

Yes. The Trustees have fully participated in the task force that recommended this change to Church Council. Trustees are fully supportive of this change, but like all of us, are mindful of unintended consequences. Trustees will monitor the impacts of this change and continue to work with the Church Treasurer to ensure a seamless implementation of the Unified Budget.

Can I still give to the 5M designated funds?

Yes. ACC is always grateful for your generous gifts to any of our 5M designated funds (Ministries, Missions, Maintenance, Music, Mortgage). These funds are considered gifts designated for a specific purpose and are not included in the 10% rule for M&O funding.

What is the expected total funding for 2016?

The task force and Trustees considered a couple of different scenarios. Hopefully, the level of now combined estimated giving (pledges) received this fall for 2016 will be the same as the total of the separate estimated giving for 2015, including the 2nd appeal, and including an increase in year-over-year giving, as we typically need to just "keep up".

What other pledging scenarios have been considered?

It is possible that a few members/friends may make a significant change to their giving patterns, using the designated "5 M" funds to select where their money is going rather than channeling their gifts through the Unified Budget. Because we are blessed with a sizable and diverse congregation, a significant change by a few members should not have a major impact on the 2016 budget. If there is a large change in the total estimated giving, Church Council will determine how to respond.

How can I respond to the change to a Unified Budget?

The commitment to tithing to M&O is ongoing. If you would like to have input to this topic and other decisions that affect our church in future years, please prayerfully consider serving on Church Council, Trustees or Missions & Outreach. The Church Council has stepped out in faith and made this change, doing so with much prayerful consideration. We encourage you to also prayerfully consider this change.