by Co-Senior Pastor Kent Carlson
For many years, one of our traditions here at Oak Hills has been our special mid-year offering. This offering has been used for all sorts of projects and ministry initiatives. Over the years, we have used it to fund new staff positions and to tackle various building needs. In more recent years, we have found it necessary to use this offering to address our budgetary shortfall. This has never been our desire. We have always wanted our expenses to be met by our regular weekly giving. Therefore, we have worked hard to trim our expenses in order to bring them in line with our weekly giving.
We realize that these financial hard times have been experienced by many people in our church. Many of us, in our places of employment, as well as in our own personal finances, have had to cut back and make some changes. In addition, at Oak Hills, we have had to bring the size of our staff into alignment with the size of our church. This process has been painful. We have a wonderful staff filled with hard working people who love God and who serve our church with great dedication. Throughout this time, Mike and I and the other pastors and leaders at Oak Hills have been so blessed by the outpouring of support and encouragement by so many of you. We are very grateful for this.
Fortunately, our financial situation seems to be moving in a very good direction and we are very encouraged by this. While we feel it is important to continue our commitment to reduce our expenses according to plan, our stronger financial condition allows us to make these changes in a healthier and more careful manner. What this means practically, is that we are able to continue to direct funds toward the crucial facility and physical campus needs we have at Oak Hills. Specifically, this allows us to keep Pastor Rick Leary on staff in a part time capacity. This part-time position, both for 2011 and the following years, is not part of our budget, and we felt it was wise to fund this position, at least for the short-term, through special offerings. Therefore our mid-year offering this year (and perhaps a portion of our year-end offering in December) will be directed towards funding this part-time facility position.
The truth is, while we need to reduce our expenses in order to meet our income, we absolutely do not want to lose Pastor Rick’s skills and dedicated service. His two- plus decades of leadership here at Oak Hills have had a remarkable impact on our church, and we want to continue to benefit from his leadership and dedication. This special offering, along with a very healthy severance (which was a part of our budget for this year), will allow Rick to continue to serve at Oak Hills without having to work full-time. Your gifts to this special mid-year offering will help us to fund this position.
Our special offerings are “over-and-above” offerings. In other words, they are intended to be gifts that we give in addition to our regular giving to the general fund. We will officially receive this offering on Sunday, June 5, but you can give to this offering any time from now until the end of June. Simply make a note on your check and/or giving envelope that this is for the mid-year offering.
As usual, we will designate 10% of this offering to a ministry outside the walls of Oak Hills Church. This year, this tithe will be given to Theodore Judah School and their STARS program. Theodore Judah is a local school in Folsom where close to half of their students live at or below the poverty line. Their STARS program is a no-cost, after school enrichment program that seeks to serve this population.
We are grateful for God’s continued provision for us at Oak Hills and encourage all who consider Oak Hills their home to prayerfully consider giving to this special offering as generously and sacrificially as they are able. Thanks!