11 January 2021 Generosity Update: A New Year Review
by Mark Foley
Looking back on the ARC year of 2020, we still have much to be thankful for, even with the pandemic:
With the major disruptions in meeting for services and small groups, our giving in 2020 was only down 5.4%. Many churches saw decreases in giving of 25% or more, and some experts are predicting closure of many churches across our country because of the economic impact.
- Our missionaries who chose to remain on the field, or even come home and go back out, were all fully supported.
- Ministry happened in very different ways and touched many more than we have reached in the past, including an opportunity to broadcast on the local ABC station for 12 weeks, paid for by a generous donor who covered the minimal costs of doing it.
- We were able to keep all our staff working who wanted to work, and we came up with new ways to do ministry.
- New equipment was purchased to do live streaming of our services.
- All our bills were paid and, by being very careful with our spending, we had positive cash flow even with reduced giving.
- A major effort to pay down our debt, with the goal to eliminate it early in 2021, was started. So far we have paid down $700,000 and have $780,000 to go.
So what does 2021 look like? While we don’t have our budget finalized, we are looking at modest increases, back to about 2019 spending levels. Paying off the debt will free up about $240,000 each year for ministry (consider an extra gift now to make that happen. In PushPay, select “Debt Elimination.” This will allow us to focus on more outreach in Rochester and moving forward on our new Mission, Vision, and Values).
COVID shutdowns gave us insight into a new means to reach people around the world through broadcasting our services. To do deeper ministry to those folks who are engaging with us online, we need to develop new ministry options to help these people become fully devoted followers of Jesus and take their next steps. As we reopen our campus, we don’t know how many will show up. There are many thousands who have watched our services online and on ABC. We need to enthusiastically welcome them and provide ministry support wherever they are in their faith journey, which will cost money. In anticipation, we are building some flexibility in our budget to be able to respond.
Looking back at 2020, we were excited about having a new senior pastor leading us but did not expect a pandemic to shake our world. God was faithful through it, providing Pastor Rick Henderson to lead us, giving our staff wisdom on how to respond to it, and moving you to give generously, resulting in ARC coming out of the year in a stronger position in both ministry and finances. Thank you for all that you do and give — because of your generosity, we are seeing kingdom impact.