I am not sure where the year has gone, but it is already time to wrap up the 2022 budget planning season at the GCI Home Office. As we look at 2022, we also look forward an additional three years to see how to sustain the path where Jesus is leading. We know that unless he builds the house, our work is not effective.
We also look back to see what is and isn’t working from this year and make prudent adjustments looking forward. Wow, what a year it has been! We expected to have been looking at Covid in the rear-view mirror, but here we are still planning around its impact.
As I look back on the impact Covid has had on GCI financial operations, it is evident that our Lord has been faithfully providing for GCI in unanticipated ways. It is easier to see his faithfulness looking back sometimes and connecting the dots where his hand is evident.
During the Covid pandemic, my prayer has been with those who have been affected by loss of loved ones and jobs. My heart goes out to those affected, and my prayer has also been that GCI could maintain operations in the face of Covid-caused financial challenges.
Despite concerns about how Covid would impact donations and the ability of GCI to carry out its mission of sharing the gospel, he has provided. Let me reflect briefly on how our heavenly Father has been faithful to GCI in the financial area.
God has been faithful in unexpected ways. Members who maintained jobs and congregations have donated more to help offset losses. Previously donated trusts have helped provide stability. The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was expanded to include churches, and GCI was able to receive funds from that program to help continue operations and employment at the pre-pandemic level. Investments have provided positive returns and helped bolster the church’s balance sheet. Reduced travel and the expanded use of Zoom have reduced expenses and taught us how to use technology more effectively. Looking back, we can see that God has provided for the church, as he always does. Through this provision, we expect to end the year on or above budgeted income projections and under budget in the expense category.
Through God’s provision during Covid, we have also been able to start construction on a new facility! The church and Ministry Training Center near Oklahoma City is nearly complete (see attached photos). This exciting $3. 95 million joint construction effort between the Home Office, Central Region, and the local church in Oklahoma City (Surrey Hills) is nearly complete, and it will be a blessing to the local church and GCI well into the future. Members have been serving the neighborhood for years in preparation and have developed deep relationships with those they serve. Local leaders have focused their efforts on sharing the gospel through the love, hope and faith avenues, even while face-to-face meetings have not been possible. I look forward to the completion of this facility near the end of the year and seeing its impact for Christ in the years ahead.
The Board also recently approved the purchase of a church facility in Eugene, Oregon, where GCI started in the early 1900s. Much has changed since that time, but this purchase will provide a secure foundation for an already thriving congregation to better reach their neighborhood and community. We hope to finish the acquisition and start some improvements before year end.
The Home Office Operating Budget for 2022 projects income and expenses near 2021 levels at approximately $4.6 million. This does not include income and expenses processed at the Home Office for local congregations of approximately $3 million.
Through the challenges we face corporately and individually, I pray we always see that our Lord is faithful and is walking with us. He is not surprised by our struggles and will lead us faithfully in his plan for us.
I encourage you to pause and read the Psalm 23 passage below from the New International Version and thank him for his daily faithfulness. What a blessing to participate with him in sharing the good news of the gospel. In him, we lack nothing, and he is faithful.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Thank you, friends, for your continued support and faithfulness in support of GCI as we strive to follow our shepherd and share the good news of the gospel.
Mathew H. Morgan, CFO