It might be hard from an outside perspective to appreciate the way we handle financial matters here at the Underground. Perhaps it looks similar with offering boxes, online giving and many of the ways we put checks and balances in place which are similar to other churches. But there are several things which make us unique in the way we approach finances.
· We limit the number of times we ask for funds. One of the reasons Core Conference is so important is that it is the one time of year we openly ask for money. Rather than revisiting our needs week after week, we want to present the vision, gather commitments and then move on the rest of the year serving God, loving people and equipping missionaries to live out their calling.
· Our general budget is a small but essential part of a bigger picture.Our budget for 2014 was roughly $620,000. But we actually collected nearly $2 million dollars in donations. We keep our general budget funds separate from what our microchurches and staff raise. Our general budget serves to support and empower a work that is bigger than the operation at the Hub. And since we give 50% of that budget away, we do an amazing amount of work on just over $300,000. This budget puts into place an infrastructure that supports work around the world.
· Our spending is completely transparent Did you know that you can look up how the Underground spends every dollar we receive? Using tools like Guidestar and the Foundation Center’s 990 Finder, you can view our full nonprofit tax return. Because we have chosen to operate as a nonprofit, rather than a church which is exempt from this filing, our financial operations are open and accessible to the public.
During Core Conference, we will be hosting a budget dinner during which Brian will present the budget and you will have a chance to ask any questions you have. On the Sunday of Core Conference we will be asking those who call Underground their family to make a commitment towards that budget. You can prepare now by looking at your personal budget for the year and asking God to lead you in the grace of giving. If you feel you want to be on the front lines and make an early pledge, Click here. You can also watch a video here of Brian explaining how our budget is unique.
As we start a new year, we are humbled by the way this community comes together to do so much with relatively little. We look forward to seeing what God has for us in 2015.