December 28, 2020
2020 Financial Update #2: Grace, Gladness, and Generosity
When the apostle Paul wrote to encourage the Corinthians toward greater generosity, he highlighted the example of the Macedonian churches: As God’s grace came down and gladness welled up, generosity flowed out to meet real financial needs.
After we highlighted Bethehem’s 2020 financial situation at our December 13 All-Church Annual Meeting and mentioned the condition of our North Campus roof, a couple came forward and designated a gift of $185K now—in 2020—to help cover a significant portion of this 2021 roof project. This gift means we don’t have to drain Bethlehem’s Building & Property reserves to do this much-needed project next year, but we can retain reserve funds for future projects (and there are many!). The couple wanted their gift to be anonymous and hoped that others might similarly be drawn to help meet this specific need. They wished to share that they attend another campus (not the North Campus), and they desire this gift to show that we are “one church.”
As we thank God for this unexpected Christmas gift, please join me in praying that God would pour out a similar spirit of generosity among us to meet Bethlehem’s remaining 2020 financial needs. With three days left in our fiscal year, you have contributed just under $8.7M toward our congregationally-approved 2020 budget of $10.4M. We continue to thank God for the $1M already-forgiven loan provision through the CARES Act, highlighted in the “Financial Update #1” blog post (pending final elder approval on the use of these funds in early January), that reduces the amount needed to meet our budget from $1.7M to $700K.
- Use the Bethlehem Online Giving portal to set up one-time or recurring giving via eCheck or credit card, where you can view your giving history, recurring giving schedule, and Contribution Statement. You can also donate via Bethlehem’s mobile app or text-to-give feature (text “BBC amount” to 612-223-7432—for example, “BBC 100”).
- Please note that our fiscal year ends Thursday, December 31. All 2020 contributions in checks or cash must be brought to the church or postmarked by December 31. All online contributions must be transacted before 11:45pm Central Time on December 31.
- If you have questions about contribution options, including donations of stock or yearly “Required Minimum Distributions” (RMD) from an IRA account, contact Bethlehem’s Financial Secretary, Steve Walmsley (612-338-7653 x463).
One final note: If you’ve not yet started on a path of joyful generosity, may this additional small incentive challenge you to consider starting in the next few days. In response to the COVID-19 virus, the CARES Act passed by Congress on March 27 allows taxpayers who don’t itemize and take the standard deduction to make a gift of $300 to a non-profit organization and use it as a dollar-for-dollar credit on their 2020 taxes (see details). This means that a $300 gift to Bethlehem—or to another 501c(3) charity—in 2020 may be recovered in full when you settle 2020 taxes in 2021. Please consult your accountant, tax preparer, or financial advisor for further details.
As we look forward to celebrating Bethlehem’s 150th anniversary year in 2021, may God work in our hearts and provide so that all of our financial obligations are met. May he enable us to start the new year on a strong financial foundation so that we may continue our mission to “spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.”