Throughout November, we spent time focusing on the biblical concept of financial stewardship. We encouraged you to give prayerful consideration to what that act of worship and discipleship would look like in your own life in 2023, and invited you to submit a pledge card reflecting that. Taking that step is meant to aid you, because it will help you be intentional and consistent in your stewardship, and it also aids us as we seek to responsibly plan our upcoming budget.
At that time, we were tracking about 13% behind our offerings goal through the first half of our fiscal year. The plan was to try to close that gap by meeting in middle: reduce our expenses and ask people to consider increasing their giving. I'd like to provide an update as we now enter the second half of our fiscal year.
There are two pieces of good news. First, thanks to a number of generous year-end gifts, we were able to make significant progress and are currently at 97% of our year-to-date offerings goal. Thank you to all who gave so generously with year-end gifts!
Second, the pledges that we received for 2023 reflected an increase of almost 19% over 2022 pledges. Thank you to all who responded so generously with their pledges!
The combination of these factors puts us on much better footing for the second half of our fiscal year and gives us a more clear picture of how to plan for the upcoming year. Pledges only represent about 50% of our total giving each year, however, meaning that there is still a wide range of variability regarding our overall giving totals.
Therefore, we will continue to reduce expenses in all areas that we can (without compromising effective ministry), and we hope that you will continue to support the mission and ministry of God's Church here in this place. When we begin to plan our 2023-2024 budget we will be as wise and realistic about our current capacity as we can be.
As a way to best align our current capacity with the mission we believe God has given us, our Session has recently begun to prayerfully revisit our strategic ministry initiatives and goals. We want to discern as best we can how God is calling us to love, share, grow, and serve in the days ahead, and then to pursue those things as intentionally and effectively as we can. We will keep you posted as we go.
In the meantime, we value your prayers, your ongoing support, and your participation in this work. If you have a desire to be more involved with any of our ministries or Teams, then we would love to talk to you about how to make that happen! I'm excited for the upcoming year, and grateful for the continued privilege of serving the Lord together with you.
Grace and peace,