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Knowledge & News
Thought provoking topics and series, necessary news and information.
Last week, we began what will be a series of reflections on John Oliver's critique of televangelism, predatory religious practices regarding money, and the divine economics of religious reciprocity. This week we'll reflect on a segment of the video where John handles the scandalous misuse of the $20,000,000 company jet (HAHAHA!).
So, you may be wondering, since Collective isn't misappropriating Jesus-jet funds and usage, how does our financial oversight work? And, if Jesus-jets aren't in fact the "vital tools" that Collective needs, what are the vital tools?
"It was a NEWS8 Investigation last February which first raised questions about Copeland's, apparently personal, use of his new ($20,000,000) church jet; ... Most notably for a ski trip to Colorado, and visits to an exotic game ranch in South Texas."
Since Collective isn't misappropriating Jesus-jet funds and usage, how does our financial oversight work?
Ok friends, confession time: If Collective had a $20,000,000 Jesus-jet, we'd all be misappropriating usage to go on a group ski trip! And, let's be honest, probably a surf trip, and a European vacation... you get the idea. But, we don't happen to have a Jesus-jet, and we do happen to have a highly competent and caring finance team who oversee the whole Collective financial picture, the planning and execution of the annual budget, and the distribution of funds in line with budgetary anticipation. We also have a transparent stance on access to the budget, and will be publishing year end reports which clarify the actual use of funds, as compared to the annual budget. Meet some of the finance team as they are introduced this Sunday. And feel free to ask questions about the budget any time.
"These preachers claim these planes are vital tools."
If Jesus-jets aren't in fact the "vital tools" that Collective needs, what are the vital tools?
So maybe we can't afford, and really don't need, Jesus-jets. But what are the vital tools Collective needs to continue to be, to function, to grow, and to thrive as a congregation? Our congregation is and always has been about people. More than buildings, programs, growth for the sake of growth (also called cancer), we've focused on people, stories, and the intersections of our lives and experiences with formation, faith, and the meaning we're making together (Jets need not apply). It follows that a focus on people requires people. Hence, the single most vital tool in the Collective budget is personnel.
"Our congregation is and always has been about people... It follows that a focus on people requires people."
People are what we're about, and people make this focus possible. Expenses associated with Collective Cares serve to resource and sustain our initiatives for LGBTQ+ PEOPLE. Childcare and Collective Kids, yep, you guessed it; Even though they're smaller, cuter, and much more innocent, still PEOPLE. Guess who comes to special events, and often becomes more involved, finding a sense of belonging at Collective: PEOPLE. Outreach and Marketing help us to connect with, as well as spread the word about what we're doing to even more PEOPLE. Cuz come on, we can't be the only ones who've been looking and longing for a community like this. What about liturgy? Oh, you mean, "The Work Of The PEOPLE". Even facilities? Well, let's just ask how many of us have complained about the heat at some point this summer. It sure is nice to have an air conditioned space to do all these things with all these PEOPLE (Including the autism therapy done with kids at Applied Behavior Center, the recovery work done by Narcotics Anonymous several times per week, the substance abuse therapy, and all our community groups that meet on site)!
All of this to say, you'll notice a conspicuous lack of jets. This is precisely because we built the budget around these vital tools. Without the budget, some of the tools operate at lower capacity, and some don't operate at all. Without the tools, we are less effective at the work we do with the people that matter most.
In sum, 1) Our experienced and responsible finance team keeps an eye on the budget and spending - making sure no one makes off in the Jesus-jet. 2) The vital tools that the budget provides are people (personnel), and the resources that allow us to best serve people.
"Our experienced and responsible finance team keeps an eye on the budget and spending. The vital tools that the budget provides are people (personnel), and the resources that allow us to best serve people."
If you have any questions regarding the responses to the questions, or the vital tools in Collective's budget, please don't hesitate to ask.
To read more about the Pledge Drive, or to catch up on other posts in this series, see below:
Pledge Drive, Meet John Oliver (Part 1)
Pledge Drive Intro
Pledge Drive Letter - Ben
Pledge Drive Letter - Begallas
Steve & Sharon's Story | Update
We are a misfit faith community that gathers in DeLand on Sundays at 5pm. Come as you are.
We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.