Friday, 30 January 2009

Leading in a Time of Financial Crisis 3

When I arrived at King’s 13 years ago the church had been declining numerically for the previous decade and I knew that to get some growth momentum was going to be a challenge. I fell into a growth strategy which has served us well for the last decade, but the changing economic situation has made me reflect on some aspects of my underlying philosophy of ministry. With the change in world economic circumstances we face a new leadership challenge for the church.

Joseph knew how to lead in the time of plenty and how to prepare for the time of famine; his wise stewardship saved the known world from poverty. Seven years of prosperity was followed by seven years of famine. We need the wisdom of Joseph at this time to get us through what has been forecast to be some very lean years.

The growth strategy we developed at King’s was to staff ahead of the growth curve. Over the years we were able to base our financial planning on past trends which developed into an ability to estimate with some confidence the finance growth trend in the future. Our experience showed us that for each person sitting in the meeting the average giving would be around £1000 a year. So, if we were growing at 100 people a year we knew we would have another £100k to spend in the next financial year - we staffed our church in the light of this information, which further increased our capacity to serve the people of God well, while providing capacity to grow more.

In the last year our Sunday attendance is up by over 150 people, which historically would probably mean we would be looking to increase our staff by at least 3 or 4 full time posts. However we have to adjust to the changing economic situation around us. Rather than reflecting a lack of faith on our part, I prefer to apply faith and good stewardship alongside each other rather than seeing them in competition. Faith is needed both in times of plenty and also in times of famine!