This blog post was written by Christ Church Bangkok's treasurer, Princeya Artpradid.
Luke 14:28 (ESV)
"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”
Dear fellow members of CCB,
It is testament to the Providence of God and the unity of our community that Christ Church’s ministry has not only remained steadfast during the recent difficult times, but has grown in many ways. The weekly online sermons have been viewed hundreds of times (more than our number of regular churchgoers!), we have reconnected with members from overseas and prayer and small groups meet regularly by video call. We have maintained much needed support for our IDC and refugee ministries and there has been a resurgence of in-reach, with members reaching out to each other, providing encouragement and support, and looking out for each other’s physical and spiritual needs.
Of course, we look forward to the joy of returning to fellowship in person (with appropriate precautions in place!), and we hope and pray that we will be blessed with the opportunity to meet as a congregation again soon.
The history of God’s people has always seen periods of upheaval followed by rebuilding through faith- something we have been hearing about in the weeks since Easter. Those periods have always been a source of renewed vigour and zeal in worship, unity and action, each member giving whatever they can to rebuild and expand God’s Kingdom.
It is my belief that we are moving into such a period. That, through adversity and challenge, new avenues of ministry have been opened up. That the bible studies, blogs, newsletters, pastoral inreach will remain part of our future worship, and that our work helping the most vulnerable will continue. Beyond our own Church, the coming months and years will see widespread hardship and suffering: the social and economic effects of the pandemic will last at least a decade. Many have lost their income or livelihood. Those in debt or poor health may see no way out. Under the “new reality”, the need and thirst for God’s Word will only grow.
Furthermore, we will soon be welcoming Rev. Andy, Nicky and their children- another new beginning. It will be exciting and energising to have renewal and rejuvenation on so many fronts!
All this does imply the need to invest both in terms of commitment of our time and resources. From what we have seen during the past weeks, it is clear that the Spirit is already at work among us, providing the inspiration and the way for many to achieve and contribute beyond what we have before. It is my hope and prayer that this momentum will continue through and past Pentecost.
On the financial front, we will naturally face many challenges. The annual cost for Christ Church Bangkok to operate is over 11 million baht, with staff payroll and upkeep of the facilities being the largest expenses.
In past years, the majority of this has been covered by Offerings, the budgeted figure for this year being 7 million baht, with the remainder coming from contributions for use of our compound (mainly for parking), special church services and one-off donations. This year we expect a significant reduction in contributions for the use of our facilities, and this increases the pressure on our needs from Offerings.
In order to balance our books, Christ Church will be cutting back on all non-essential capital projects as well as looking to manage our upkeep in a more efficient way. An excellent example (which we will have the chance to see soon) is the transformation of the church sanctuary with new staging, carpet and fittings which was achieved at a fraction of the budgeted cost through the contribution of time and effort from our members.
It is indeed the greatest blessing and encouragement that under such challenging circumstances, your Offerings up to the end of April 2020 are almost 20% higher compared to the same period in 2019. This does, to some extent, offset the reduced contributions from other sources. With the other measures we are putting in place, we expect to narrow the shortfall in funding from above two million baht down to just over one million: a significant but not insurmountable figure.
Throughout all that has happened, our commitment to Ministry has remained. Of all the budget items, the ones for Ministry are the only ones left untouched- in a time of challenge, there will clearly be a need for more, not less Ministry. There will be so much work to be done, strengthening and expanding God’s Kingdom, reaching out and bringing hope to those around us in need and I believe that, with your support, we can achieve new and greater things.