Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Friday, August 03, 2007

License to spend

It's not permission to spend at will, but we now have permission from the church to seek out a bus and a van for the ministry. The business meeting Wednesday night went off without a real hitch, with voting going unanimously. Since we have a constitutional requirement that a business meeting cannot be held without two weeks notice, and the deacons and pastor aren't supposed to spend more than $500 without church approval (sensible precautions to prevent the sort of dishonest catastrophes that have befallen some congregations), we asked the congregation to authorize the deacons and pastor to select and purchase both a van and bus for no more than a combined $29,500.

My notion at the moment is to get an inexpensive bus that will get us through another couple years, while buying a late-model, low-mileadge van that should be a long-term solution. The van currently runs every service instead of just on Sunday mornings, so it seems like a priority. Once we finish paying for the van, then we can look at acquiring long-term bus solutions.

Unfortunately, repairs on the bus we were having the engine replaced on ended up running over $1,700. That sets us back a good bit in down-payment terms. Fortunately, the Lord has been good and His people have been faithful, so we seem to be pretty financially stable at the moment, in spite of a slight summer slump (which is normal, as people go on vacations, and teachers don't work).

You know, it's things like this bus situation that can drive a young pastor to distraction. We've been taught and given experience in preaching, teaching, counseling, even baptizing and making statements of faith, and so on. But nobody in Bible college or seminary tells you how to tell which bus to purchase (much less which investment to package to use for a former pastor's retirement funds, to name another time-consuming decision), or even where to go to get the information you need for practical decisions like these.

I wish I could have a word or two with the teacher of my church management and programming class, or maybe the deans of the various decent schools out there. The classes are simply not geared toward situations most young pastors are likely to encounter. Oh, well. I guess that's why we've got deacons, the internet, and most importantly, brains of our own. All I've got to say, though, is that after this crash education in bus mechanics, high speed internet services, website development, wireless networking, and investment strategy -- mine hurts.


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