Action Committee, February 3, 2016

First United Methodist Church of Santa Rosa

Next Step Action Committee Meeting Notes

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 – 5:00 p.m.

Montgomery Campus          

Members/Attendees: Thomas Barnett, Trustees; Chris Bowen, Finance; Mary Brunet, Business Administrator;

Norm Bryan, Chair of SPRC; Tokasa Buinimasi, Fijian Language Ministry; Blake Busick, Pastor; Lyn Goodison, Chair of Trustees; Norm Hardin, Trustees; Trey McAlister, Action Committee Chair; April Nichols, SPRC; Naomi Niimi, SPRC; Greg Roth, Chair of Finance; Bill Stephens, Lay Leader; and, Heather Young, Finance.

Trey welcomed everyone and Pastor Blake read Acts 4:32-35 and opened the meeting with a prayer.

Pastor Blake shared that while we are here as a working group to make recommendations on closing the budget gap it is his hope that this process will deepen our faith and help us grow together spiritually.

It was clarified that our purpose is to make recommended solutions to the Church Council and the Church Council is the decision-making body.

Mary provided and discussed with the group with the Church’s Balance Sheet and Income Statement dated January 2016.  She indicated that the assessed value of the Stony Point and Montgomery properties (as of 2013) was indicated on the balance sheet.  Further, the forecasted budgeted income for 2016 is $822,221, expenses are $940,375 resulting in a projected deficit of $118,154.

It was clarified that the Church has not yet formally adopted a budget.

Trey indicated that in general over the period 2012-2016 pledging has steadily increased and expenses have been relatively flat.  Given that trend we should first look more at the income side.

Greg indicated that he analyzed the period 2010-2015 and after stripping away special items such as the Barbara Ferguson gift and Accu-bore rental income, core sustainable income increased 2.76% and expenses for that same period were -.63%.   He stated that the first projected deficit of -$156,000 has been revised to $118,154 given recently received pledges.

Heather asked that the group also look at the mortgage debt in addition to current budget gap and stated we are not accruing money for the payment of the debt.

Trey discussed the following information with the group:

For the Operating Budget



# Pledging Units*

Total Amount

Average Pledge Amount

















        * A Pledging Unit generally is all those giving in the household.


While the number of pledging units have decreased the average amount pledge trended upwards.

Number of Active Church Members and Constituents



















A discussion took place about the number of pledging units and active members and constituents who are actively participating in the Church but have not pledged.

Pastor Blake indicated that our Church has a potential of 300 giving units.

It was agreed upon that we need to increase the number of pledging units.

Pastor Blake talked about building faith and developing our spiritual life, and giving being a natural outflow from that life.  He suggested that each of us ask ourselves: What I can do?  What individually will be my response?

Mary shared that in January, after news of the deficit, five people increased their pledge amount and or gave a one-time gift, six new pledges were received and thirteen people turned their pledges in.

Pastor Blake indicated that we give for personal and spiritual reasons.  However, culturally why we give is a secret. We have deep faith reasons for giving and what if we shared why we give and changed the culture of giving.

Lyn shared that there are stories out there of how our Church has blessed and changed lives and that should be shared as well.

Greg shared that the forecasted annual mortgage deficit stands at $16,945 and the operating budget deficit is $101,209 for a total of $118,154.

The projected annual mortgage deficit could be covered by the Bank of the West checking account. 

Lyn indicated that it has been a long standing understanding by the Trustees that we would maintain a six month mortgage payment balance plus taxes in the account.  

Greg indicated that we are forecasting a -$9,201 monthly deficit and have $15,754 in the operating checking account.  That account is estimated to run out in 1.7 months.  If we use the emergency operating reserve of $29,403.96, the two accounts are estimated to run out in 4.9 months.  If we conduct a mid-year fundraiser that brings in $15,000, and if we cut $20,000 in expenses, we have about 8 months.

It was clarified that the income for January 2016 does not change the forecasted deficit discussed.

It was decided by the group that the following action steps be taken:

Form four groups to focus on:

  • Inspirational Giving – Collecting and sharing stories of giving
  • Past Givers - Those who have given in the past but have not pledged this year
  • Active members and Constituents who have not pledged
  • Fijian Language Ministry

Inspirational Giving

Thomas Barnett

Greg Roth

Lyn Goodison

Naomi Niimi


Past Givers

Norm Bryan

April Nichols



Mary Brunet

Chris Bowen


Fijian Language Ministry

Tokasa Buinimasi 


Trey will reach out to members not in attendance for a focus group assignment.

Greg shared that while he supports the groups planned work on the Church’s income as a steward he must recommended that the Church take a three pronged approach to the budget deficit that includes:

  • Increasing Income
  • Asset Sale – Gathering information and having a conversation
  • Reducing Expenses


It was agreed upon that he will ask Heather to gather information on the market value of the Church’s properties at Stony Point and Montgomery.

Focus Groups will report back on progress and their plans at the next meeting scheduled for:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 – 5:00 p.m. Montgomery Campus


Notes taken by:

Pamala Stephens

C: Committee Members

     Dick Reichert, Chair, Church Council        

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Event Date: 

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 19:00