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2024 Budget Q&A

Last night, as part of the Church Life event, we discussed the proposed budget for 2024.

Attached you will find a copy of the Budget Paper that was presented. We ask that you use the coming weeks to read, reflect and pray on the budget. Praying about a set of numbers may seem like a strange thing to do but, like all we do as a church, we want our budget to be glorifying God. We will then vote on the budget at a congregational meeting on the 12th November.

Some great questions were asked last night and you’ll find them (and the answers) below. If, after reading these, you have further questions, please contact our Finance Manager, Janet Sutton, or our Treasurer, John Wallace. Details of how to do so are on the paper.

Q: What is Minor Enchancements?
A: This is an account for small items that aren’t classed as assets, but don’t fall under general ‘Repairs & Maintenance’ e.g new lights for on stage, power point upgrade, new rug for meeting room etc.

Q: What is the expected life of churh chairs? Does replacement of these need to be considered?
A: This isn’t on our list of asset replacement at this stage, but it is something we will monitor. This cost would come out of the Capital Plan, not the operational budget that the congregation votes on.

Q: Why are Gifts so much lower for 2024?
A: This is because in both 2022 and 2023 we donated $10k to QTC to help them secure their building. The decision has been made that any future support would be as part of an ongoing partnership, and would therefore come out of the Partnerships budget which is separate to our operational budget.

Q: What is Counselling Services and why is it increasing?
A: As a church, there are many ways that we support our people through difficult times. One such way is helping to pay for counselling services where appropriate. These costs are carefully monitored by the board.

Q. Given the increase in attendees, why is our giving not going up accordingly?
A: The main reason for this is that there is usually a delay between people joining a church and people starting to give. Some people start giving straight away, others can take up to 18 months before they start.

Q: The difference between 2023 forecast giving and 2024 budget giving is 3% so where does the need for a 9% increase come in?
A: Our top giver has indicated that they will be reducing their giving next year so this figure was taken off the 2023 actuals. The gap between that figure and the 2024 budget is then 9%.

Q: How does Fabinrose operate? Does church monitor how ethical or otherwise this business is?
A: The Fabinrose Trust is made up of 3 churches (Living Church, Acacia Ridge PC and Toowoomba West PC) that owns AJs Sports Centre – a gym in Algester. For 30 years, these churches have each had 2 representatives on the Board of Directors and the 3 churches each receive a share of the profits. The 2 Living Church members on the Board are currently Mitchell Claes and Chris Collard. It is the Board’s responsibility to oversee the running of the business, at both an operational and strategic level.

Q: Why are we putting so much more money into Events? Do we need to increase attendance/contribution costs (paying $15 for Church Life instead of $10)?
A: The Events budget is predominantly made up of evangelistic events where we have an opportunity to welcome new people i.e Christmas, Easter, Level Up. As we seek to be ‘an ever-growing community of people who love God and one another’, we want to put some more funds towards these events. We are also looking at how we could make Mother’s Day and Father’s Day a special event in our calendar, so there are funds set aside for this too.
In terms of charging more for things like Church Life, this is a decision we continue to monitor. We want to do our best to cover costs but also make the event accessible to everyone in our church.

Q: Why is the Youth budget so high in 2023/24? What does this cover? Should we be asking youth to contribute to Friday nights ($5 per night)?
A: This is to do with timing of camp registrations. The 2023 forecast does not account for any camp income at the end of this calendar year. When we complete the annual accounts early next year, we will check this and adjust the budget accordingly. Any change will not significantly effect the overall budget position. For note, the Youth budget includes costs associated with Friday Connect, Events (camp, year 12 retreat, boys/girls night out) and Growth Groups. We will continue running Friday Connect as a free event so that there are no barriers to people coming along.

Q: You mentioned Fabinrose reducing yet the budget income is greater than estimates for 2023 and actual 2022.  How is the budget worked out?
A: In 2022 we only receieved distributions (of varying amounts) in January, November and December. And in 2023, we have been receiving $1,500 each month, but only since May. The budget was worked out based on advice from the Board representatives, which was that these distributions of $1,500 per month will continue in 2024.