The altar was prepared. We celebrated communion with the Lord, our God. We give thanks for how He cares for us all.
Greetings to you, my precious Luke Family, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, Before I present the information shared at our recent family meeting, I want to share my heart with you. I love that God birthed us. I love that in God’s infinite wisdom He knew who to call into His heart to love His people. I love that as one looks at the faces of our family, God’s rich diversity rules. We are truly a multi-cultural family that is learning to love one another. I love that God knows our hearts. We love Him, and we love His people. We yearn to be close enough to hear His whispers of love and mission, so that we can help His hurting people in Denham Springs and beyond. I love that we don’t love division. Walls that separate and exclude are unwelcomed in our community of faith. We seek to build bridges where the world says bridges can’t be built. We find common ground between Protestants and Catholics; Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Libertarians; denominations and non-denominations. We love being a part of the body of Christ. We are unique, and we have a vital calling by God to never stop learning how to love Him and love one another. Why? because He first loved us. He loved us enough to birth us. As our Father, God is faithful to let us know when we’re getting it right and when we’re getting it wrong. Right now, He’s letting us know that we’re getting it wrong when we think we don’t need to tithe. Tithing is a kingdom principle that God established. That’s it. Period. The fact that we agree with it or don’t agree with it, is irrelevant. Why would God want us to tithe? He knows we love our money, and He does not want money to control us. What happens when we stubbornly refuse to give to God what is already God’s? Read the next three pages, and you will find out. There’s simply not enough money to do what God wants to do. I love you, and I love us. Please read the remaining pages of this letter prayerfully. God has called us to be a unique presence in His body, and He’s eagerly waiting for our response. With deep love and much respect for who and whose you are – Luke 10:27 Family Meeting 3/30/14 Our current reality: • Greg Lavergne, an assistant auditor for the State of Louisiana and former chair of Luke’s Board of Trustees, has spent many hours getting the finances in order. He had to go back five + years to make sure that the accounting was accurate. He finished this process in February 2014. • Leslie established the Finance Team to make sure we were being fiscally responsible and missional. The Finance Team is responsible for how church funds are spent. • The Finance Team renegotiated company contracts. The Ministry Leaders got creative with ministry. We saved $18,000 last year! • Giving in 2013 was down from 2012 by about $18,000. Had we not been prompted by God to radically trim our expenses, we would have had a larger deficit. • Weight Watchers, a tenant of the church through 2013, did not renew their contract to rent church space. • We cut our giving in half to Heart to Honduras and stopped giving to Community Hands all together because we did not have the money to continue our support. It is critical that we restore our giving to local and foreign missions when current revenues increase. Income for 2013 General Giving for 2013 $175,516* Rental Income (majority from Weight Watchers) $ 4,880 Total Income $180,396 *Does not include designated funds. Designated Funds can only be used for the purpose defined by the giver. Ex: Sponsoring a youth to go to camp. This money can not be used to pay for our general expenses. Expenses for 2013 Pastor & Ministry Salaries $ 78,808 Head Pastor, Elders’ Assistant, Music Minister, Youth Minister, and Nursery Workers Office Supplies $ 10,714 Trustees Expenses $ 86,729 Mortgage, Janitorial, Lawn Care, Property Tax, Insurance, Utilities, Alarm Monitoring Missions & Ministries (all) $ 7,855 Worship $ 1,693 Music Licenses, Altar supplies & Audio Visual Total Expenses $185,799 2013 Deficit (- $5,403) 2014 Information • Luke will sustain a $2,600 increase in expenses for alarm monitoring and garbage pick up (previously paid by anonymous donor). • We need to repaint the church or we will have long term damage. The Trustees are planning on doing it in stages so we can get started on it. • If giving stays the same for 2014, we will still have to cut $13,500 just to cover expenses equal to last year (does not include painting). Jan-Mar 2013 Jan-March 2014 * Difference $55,900 $46,387 ( – $9,513) *includes estimated amounts Here are some of the questions and answers asked at our Church Meeting and afterwards: 1. How many tithing units do we have? Based on individual and family units, we have 72 tithing units at Luke. 2. How much do we owe on our Building? We have two mortgage notes. We owe Whitney Bank $305,088 and we owe Frank Akin’s mortgage $693,957 totaling $999,045. 3. How much do we pay for our mortgage monthly? We pay Whitney Bank $3,076.20, and we pay Frank Akin $923.80 totaling $4,000. 4. Why did the church decide to take on this much debt? Frank Akin agreed to loan Luke 10:27 $717,052. Regrettably, the construction costs exceeded the original estimate to buy the property, build the sanctuary and renovate the church office. A second loan was necessary to complete the project. 5. When does the bank note come due and what happens then? Both loans come due in Oct 2015. The bank can ask for the full amount to be paid or hopefully, renegotiate another five year term loan. 6. What are we supposed to do? Tithe. God says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. “Test Me in this,” says the Lord, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10 A tithe is the first 10% of one’s income. We are not called to be irresponsible in providing fundamental needs for our families. If tithing seems impossible, treat it as a goal. Determine an intentional , responsible plan for moving toward a tithe over a given period of time. 7. Can we do fund-raisers or try to get more people to come to church? Certainly, but not in place of tithing. God wants us to tithe. Please prayerfully complete the enclosed commitment card, and place it in the offering basket on Easter Sunday or mail it to: Luke 10:27, 536 Centerville, NE, Denham Springs, Louisiana 70726. God bless you.