A Narrative Budget for 2020, A Vision for 2021

 

Introduction: What Is A Narrative Budget?

A narrative budget is a document that moves beyond dollars and cents, and shows how financial gifts become transformative moments of ministry. Rather than presenting a two-dimensional spreadsheet documenting the cost of electricity, staffing, the church’s mortgage, and so on, we break down the financial resources that fuel the church into more honest categories, ones that truly reflect how the building, the staff, and other financial investments made by the church contribute to Mission, Worship, Outreach, Fellowship, Congregational Care, Youth Ministry, and Adult Faith Formation.

How much will we spend in 2020?

Because the calendar year is not yet over, estimation is involved in the numbers presented here. So far, we have spent 87% of the funds we were budgeted to spend by this point in the year. Given anticipated expenses for the rest of the year, we anticipate spending 89% of this year’s budget, approximately $370,500 total. If giving follows typical yearly trends by increasing in November and December, we believe we will end the year with a surplus beyond these projections. That surplus can either go toward additional principal reduction on the mortgage or investment in children and youth ministry in 2021.

What did our investment in Mission make possible in 2020?

Before Covid struck, we had Be the Church Sunday in January, where short worship services were followed by a morning of service. Volunteers could either stay at church and pack give-away sacks for the homeless, or go to the Hillcrest Outlet and help with sorting donations. Even after Covid struck, the Mission work of the church kept going strong. With masks and physical distance, we were able to collect donations, pack, and distribute welcome kits for international students at Park University. We also delivered needed items to Cherith Brook. Malcolm Andrews took advantage of his unexpected days with dad (Pastor Steve) by participating in deliveries to Cherith Brook and also learning how to collect eggs with the Rev. Eric Garbison at Cherith Brook’s garden.

In 2020, around $15,000 of PPC funds have been directly given to organizations we support, offered in one of the PC(USA)’s four special offerings, paid in per capita to the presbytery, or given to people in need through Community Assistance. Additional Mission funds reflect the value of staff time and building space that is used for Mission, especially hosting the SPEAC Food Pantry. SPEAC has been especially active this year, serving a wider geographic area with fewer volunteers, giving tens of thousands of bags of groceries to thousands of people in need in our area. SPEAC contributes to the budget of PPC by paying for trash service and defraying some utility costs, but our Mission narrative budget reflects the gift of rent-free space, with the cost of some utilities borne by the church, that makes this ministry possible. Other Mission projects of the church that continued in the midst of COVID-19 are the Platte County Back to School Fair, Hillcrest Transitional Housing, Community Assistance, Highway Cleanup, and (coming in November) Christmas Cards for Veterans, and many more!

What did our investment in fellowship make possible in 2020?

Even though Covid led to the cancellation or postponement of many fellowship events this year, including the postponement of the church’s 175th anniversary celebration, fellowship still happened! In the early days of the pandemic, we enjoyed fellowship over Zoom after worship. We also had special Zoom events in the fall, including a Blessing of the Backpacks and Blessing of the Animals. And even with Covid restrictions in place, we were able to field a softball team this spring. We also gave away bags of prepacked food as part of our World Communion Sunday celebration. Even when things are different, we still find ways to connect with each other and enjoy the fellowship of God’s People.

 

What did our investment in Adult Faith Formation make possible in 2020?

When worship was online-only, so were Sunday School and Bible Study. We continued to read the Scripture passages Pastor Steve would preach about in Bible Study, and we had a Sunday School class on the Book of Revelation over Zoom. This fall, we delved into “Virus as a Summons to Faith,” and “Our Money Story,” and Bible Study has moved to a new virtual platform, Facebook Live.

What did our investment in congregational care make possible in 2020?

In the age of COVID-19, we have maintained a sense of congregational unity and shown our care for one another through home deliveries.

• Palms came on Palm Sunday.
• Red pinwheels with fire-colored streamers were for Pentecost.
• American flags and a patriotic prayer blessed the 4th of July.
• A small loaf of bread, the smallest loaf ever custom-baked by the Hy-Vee bakery, and made just for us, were part of the World Communion Sunday celebration.

Congregational care has also happened in the big and little moments of the church’s life. During the pandemic season, we have conducted three funerals, thanks to generous gifts of time and talent from our musical leaders, volunteer service from ushers and greeters, and the services of our technical volunteers, who livestreamed each service. We also offered a baptism at Heartland Camp, a wedding in the sanctuary, physically-distanced visits with those who just needed to see someone in-person, and countless phone calls and notes to express our care and wish each other well.

What did our investment in youth and children’s ministry make possible in 2020?

The overall number shown as our investment in youth ministry does not fully reflect the value and priority we place on children and youth. Children and youth are integrated into every aspect of the church’s life, and the resources we invest in mission, congregational care, and worship, are for them as much as anyone. Still, a few realities altered our investment this year: The youth room became an extra storage room for the SPEAC Food Pantry, so some building use ordinarily devoted to Youth Ministry went to Mission. In addition, our youth group has been ably served by a volunteer, Molly Jackson, who has given her time to lead the group before and during the pandemic. Before Covid, our youth participated in the presbytery’s Martin Luther King Day Day of Service. During Covid, our youth participated in the Highway Cleanup, and as a result, we had fifteen volunteers come to clean Highway 9! These days, Sunday School and Youth Group largely happen over Zoom. Under the leadership of Linda Myers and Andi Kahclamat, our youngest kids are attending Sunday School even more regularly than they were before Zoom! And many are learning to pray on their own, without reading one of the prayers provided. The picture above is from InterGenerational Sunday School this summer. The picture on the right is Henry Schrimsher’s version of Zoom Sunday School.

What did our investment in outreach make possible in 2020?

The welcome bags to the left and an American flag were delivered to each of the church’s 100 closest neighbors in July. Throughout the pandemic season, these same neighbors have also received postcards from us, and our relationships with them have deepened as they have seen the depth of our outreach to them. Other outreach activities happen through events, like the upcoming Socially-Distanced, Drive-Thru, Trunk or Treat. The church has paid a modest amount to ‘boost’ this event on Facebook, and as of this writing, the event page has been seen by over 3,000 people in our area and has more than 160 responses from people on Facebook. Another focus of the church’s outreach is the use of the building for community groups. When groups like the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Music Together, and Narcotics Anonymous use the church’s space, we raise our profile in the community. Consequently, the investment we make in our building is an investment in outreach.

What did our investment in worship make possible in 2020?

Online worship, a plane we had to build while flying it, has now become a comfortable format for us to offer worship and a comforting way for many to receive worship. Even after the pandemic ends, we will continue to offer online worship for those with varying schedules or other needs that prevent them from coming to in-person worship. In addition to online worship, we also worshiped outside for three months this year, and we hired new staff to enhance music offerings in worship.

What will be possible in 2021?

Please turn in your pledge cards by Sunday, November 1st, so we can begin to turn our vision for 2021 into concrete plans, so we can begin to unfold those tables and bring these plans to life!

In 2021:

• The Parkville Living Center will continue to flourish and grow. The PLC was founded by PPC Member Marcus Flores, with the vision of becoming a community center for Parkville that attracts new people and invites them on a spiritual path. The PLC has already received $7,500 in grant funding from our denomination, and this is only one sign of the potential of this ministry!
• We’ll keep worshiping online, but whenever in-person worship becomes truly safe and risk-free, we’ll start a new alternative worship service, both in-person and online. Unlike previous attempts, we’ll devote the right amount of human resources and promotional energy to this endeavor, and we’ll attract new people who will find God through PPC.
• We’ll fully embrace the Vision Frame of 2018, the one that gave us the tagline, “Where Everyone is Loved, Where Everyone Belongs.” Those particular words and the entire vision of the Vision Frame will guide every move we make in 2021.
• With your support, we’ll invest more financial resources in children and youth ministry.
• And we’ll do all this while continuing the good work of 2020.

Thank you for your support this year, and thank you for walking with us on the journey ahead. Let us endeavor, each day, to make room for everyone, to offer love to everyone, and to be the people God has called us to be!