Subsidize THIS

I was privileged to be a part of the Central Texas Conference’s Mission Ministries Team meeting this past Saturday. One of the main purposes of this annual meeting is to go over the budget requests for all the various minsitry groups within the conference.

I had been very apprehensive about attending this meeting. The CTC came up about $900K short on our apportionments for 2005, and we ahve not proven very good in the past at limit the growth of our budget. I fully expected to hear the same old head-in-the-sand mantra of “giving will be better this year; let’s go ahead and plan to spend more!”

I must admit I was pleased to find out that most of the MMT was on the same page as myself. While there are many worthwhile programs and needs, it would be poor stewardship on our part to plan to spend more than we could reasonably expect to receive.

One discussion I got involved in was particularly interesting, and will be the subject of this post. Much of what we do as the CTC is pretty heavily subsidized. We set costs for events based on what we would like everyone to have to pay.

What I think we ought to do is price events in such a way that participation actually pays for them. As we set prices to actually cover expenses, we also build in some funding for those who demonstrate financial need.

I was told by one person that for a particular event that her group hosts each year, “Everyone pays full cost, and it still doesn’t cover the costs.” Perhaps we aren’t all clear on what “full cost” means.

We have operating, within the CTC, at least two groups that use the model I am reccommending. Glen Lake, our camp, sets the price for a week of camp at a rate that looks high for a church camp, but a letter from a pastor earns the child with need a week at camp. CTCYM, our youth mission organization is structured the same way, and has run with a surplus for about a decade.

The new model for connectionalism will include many more programs that run on the money they bring in from participants rather than from apportioned funds.

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