Yesterday I wrote that as we began thinking about planting a church in Dublin, I was asked “are there are certain things, that if you could start over, you would have done differently?” As James, Elizabeth & I began tossing that question around, we came up with a number of things. While we all get to learn from our mistakes, hopefully, most of these are lessons we only need to learn once.
Another thing I would do differently if I had it to do over again is I would have had the church put some money into savings every week.
A little back story. When we first planted the Ithaca Vineyard, James & I met with people from the Community School of Music and Arts, and they agreed to rent out the 3rd floor dance studio to us for $250/month. If you took James’ tithe along with Liz & my tithe, we had a church budget of just over $250/month…so that’s what we did. Pretty quickly other families began attending the Vineyard, and many of them began giving.
As a young church, recognizing that we needed to grow, we took the money we received and bought advertising, spent it on servant evangelism projects, fixing up the website…and about 6 months in, we moved to own facility up at Community Corners.
In other words, whatever came in, we invested right back into the church. And through that we grew.
But if I had it to do over again, I would have made sure that every week, we put something into our savings account. Maybe it would have only been $25 per week at the beginning…(actually, some weeks it would have been $5), but that would have been a good habit for us to start. Then when we got to those period where the economy dropped a bit, or giving was down for some reason or another, we would have been able to weather those times a bit more smoothly.
We talked about doing that frequently, but there was always something else that seemed “urgent” and so rather than saving, we spent every thing that came in.
If I could do it over, I would not make that mistake again.