Dear Friends,

I apologize.  If you’re looking for a devotional thought to start your week, you might want to delete this and look elsewhere.  Today I just want to share with you three year-end statistics.  And a few comments.

Our worship attendance average for 2013 was 188.  Here are the numbers from the three full years I’ve been here:  2011, 183; 2012, 198; 2013, 188.  Graph that and it looks like a hill.  We were climbing uphill but now we’re climbing back down.  We’re over the hill, you might say. I wouldn’t say that!  We are taking steps right now to reverse this decline.  Remember, that your decision each week on whether or not to come to worship impacts these numbers.  And also, your decision on whether worship means enough to you that you will invite someone to come with you.

We ended 2013 with 43.5% of our apportionments paid.  Apportionments are our share of the larger mission of the United Methodist Church (including the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of which we are a part.)  Here is our trend in paying apportionments.  I’ll go back to the last full year when Kim Fields was your pastor because I want to give him credit for his part in getting you up to 100%.  2009, 100%; 2010, 52.1%; 2011, 60.3%; 2012, 27.0%; 2013, 43.5%.  Graph that and it resembles somewhat the fortunes of Boise State football in those same years. The practical impact of not paying all of our apportionments is that we are carrying less than our share of the load.  And that other churches therefore must carry more.

Finally, our giving projection for 2014.  I like to end with good news!  Each year I get a report from our treasurer on the dollars pledged for the new year plus the dollars actually given in the previous year by those who choose not to fill out an estimate of giving card.  Assuming that those who have a track record of giving in the past will continue to give at that same level in the future, this gives us a fairly accurate forecast of what to expect.  In 2012 that projection was $189,104.  In 2013 it was $212,336. The projection for 2014 is $221,025.  You are generous people.  There is no question about that.  Though we never seem to have enough money to keep up with all our obligations, your faithful giving continues to inspire me and give me hope that this church is on its way back.

I feel so privileged to be your pastor!

In Christ,