Category Archives: bible study

Budget 2015 — Q & A (Updated 24 Nov)

Church Family Meeting — Sunday 7 December (After Worship):  Vote on Budget 2015

At yesterday’s Budget 2015 Q & A session, the Finance Committee and I fielded and answered questions regarding next year’s budget.  Below you will find brief responses to these and other questions.

Why can’t we include our “local missions partners” (i.e. Stadtmission, YoungLife, Simsek) in this year’s budget?

Our Budget 2015 is based on our actual giving.  As a result we have had to make many difficult choices including cutting out of our budget ALL of our non-institutional missions partners.  Our “tithe” goes to our institutional partners.  Our plan is to collect a Finance Committee approved special missions “offering” of 9,800 Euros to be given to our European Baptist Federation church-planting partners.  Other missions giving will be financed the same way.

Are there other means of collecting missions funds besides a “special offering”?

Yes.  Although our fundamental commitment is to the biblical method of “tithes and offerings,” the leaders are exploring other ways of funding our ministry and missions and will coordinate those through the Finance Committee.

What was the 3% vote about in October?

In order to limit our expenses and to improve our financial position, the Ministry Council at the recommendation of the Finance Committee asked the church to stop our 3% of receipts contribution to the Nordic Baltic LEAD Team (Church Planting) fund at the IBC (Convention).  The church voted to discontinue that payment for the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2014.  The Budget 2015 reinstates that 3% but reduces the contribution to the IBC by that same amount.

Our personnel expenses are the largest percent of our budget.  Have we consider reducing our staff salaries?

It’s true.  Our personnel expenses make up over 60% of our budget — the recommended threshold for a church our size.  Our Staff Relations Committee (SRC) has reviewed the figures and asked that we freeze salaries at the 2014 level and that we do a task/time analysis to make sure that we are focusing our resources on priority needs.  At this time, the SRC is reviewing the staff job descriptions and assignments and will be bringing recommendations to our staff.


IBCB Budget 2015 — Proposal and Procedures

Each year IBCB’s Leaders Council along with our Ministry Council reviews our MISSION as the basis for proposing how we will invest our MONEY (budget) in the lovegrowservegocoming year.  Our MONEY serves our MISSION!  So, when we look at our budget it should reflect the priorities of our mission.  Here’s our mission:

Mobilize and Multiply Disciple-Making Followers of Jesus Christ

This year, in response to our survey/study, the Leaders Council has identified four priorities to take us to the next level as a church during 2015:

  • Improving our worship experience
  • Increasing the number of bridging/connecting events
  • Integrating participants into a disciple-making process
  • Invigorating our small groups ministry

You’ll see that our proposed Budget 2015 attempts to do this by devoting our monies to events and assigning the responsibilities of “events” and “connecting” to staff.

Based on our God-given MISSION, the Leaders Council, the Ministry Council, and the Finance Committee (FiCo) present the following proposed preliminary budget for your prayerful consideration.  Below you will see a brief explanation of this budget that calls attention to the major features of this proposal.

Proposed Preliminary Budget 2015 (Download your copy by clicking here:  2015 IBCB Budget Preliminary Budget 16 Nov)

Fact-Based Budget — This year’s budget is based on the facts of our giving over the past few years.  The FiCo set a finanical limit of 190K€ a number that corresponds to our giving history.  This means that this year’s budget is approximately 40K€ less than last year’s “faith-based” budget.  This caps our spending, stops the downward trend in our reserve fund, and makes our budget a giving goal.

Staff Salaries Frozen — Staff salaries have been frozen at 2014 levels.  Though on the high-side of percent budget (65%) we are close to the recommendations for a church our size.  The Staff Relations Committee is reviewing the staff task and time allocation and working alongside the pastor to reallocate staff assignments to fit our current priorities and needs.

Missions Partnerships — One of the biggest changes to our budget is in the area of missions partnerships.  Our INSTITUTIONAL partners are included in our budget as IBCB’s “tithe” to God’s Kingdom work through our partners.  Our INDIVIDUAL partners have been removed from our budget.  The FiCo has approved the collection of a MISSIONS OFFERING with an initial goal of 9800€ for the purpose of continuing our support of our Europeans Baptist Federation Missions Partners in Slovakia, Hungary, Israel, and Iraq.


Prayerfully, review the budget and be prepared to ask your questions — see the schedule below. The FiCo and Leaders will answer your questions and hear any recommendations that you have regarding the proposed budget.  Your recommendations — if any — will be incorporated into the budget and you will receive a Proposed (Final) Budget 2015.  The church will meet officially as a body to vote on that budget on 7 December or 14 December depending upon the recommendations of the church.

  • 23 November — Q & A After Worship
  • 7 or 14 December — Church Family Meeting (Members Vote)

If you have any questions about the budget or the procedure, please, feel free to contact the FiCo or the Leaders Council (leadership(at)ibcberlin(dot)org).  The more open we are and the more you participate, the more ownership and responsibility we share in supporting our MISSION with our MONEY.

May God use us to accomplish his mission for the sake of his Kingdom beginning right here in Berlin.



Serve in Ministry: My Abilities

“I (God)…have given him skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts…” Exodus 31:3

shapeOne of the most common excuses people give for not getting involved in ministry is “I just don’t have any abilities to offer.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. God has SHAPEd us with talents — those natural God-given abilities (i.e. talent for drawing) — and created us with the ability to develop skills — those abilities we learn through knowledge and practice.  ALL of us have TALENTS and SKILLS … also known as abilities!

The key is identifying your abilities and matching them with the right ministry.

Here’s an example, my wife, Laurie, likes to take simple things and arrange them in ways that look nice.  She uses that ability to decorate at our church functions.  Additionally, she’s much more organized than I.  That ability comes in handy when she responds to our guests and connects them with appropriate people as a part of our Welcome Team.  She has a knack for “arranging” and “organizing” so she uses it to serve the church in those ways.

What are your abilities?  How do use them to serve the church?

Identify your abilities and use them to serve in ministry.  Here are some opportunities to use your abilities:

  • Children Ministry Team (Teachers)
  • Worship Hosts Team (Hosts)
  • Hospitality Team (SetUp/TearDown Coffee Time)
  • Tech Team (Sound Tech)
  • Beamer Team (Video Tech)
  • Counting Team (Leader/Counters)
  • Drama Team (Leader and Actors)
  • Promotion Team (Writers/Photographers)
  • Events Team (Organizers)
  • Small Group Leaders (Hosts/Leaders)
  • Disciple Life Academy (Instructors)

To find out more, attend this Saturday’s “Serve in Ministry” workshop.  To connect with one of our ministry teams, contact our church office admin(at)ibcberlin(dot)org.


Missions Report: Günter in Congo

I received this missions report from Günter Springer who is serving a short-term missions project in Congo.  Read this and continue to pray for him during his time away from our IBCB family.

141103 041 Bunia

Dear Scott,

Just a brief message to IBC from myself and from my English phonetics class – all of them want to become English teachers and are doing their final year (of three) at the Institute Supérieure Pédagogique here in Bunia. This school is attached to the Communauté Evangélique au Centre de l’Afrique (CECA) – so it’s a facility of the church. And everybody here is really thankful for our (me and two girls from Scotland) willingness to teach them.

The people here are very friendly to us and so we have already been invited to two wedding ceremonies in less than a month! We usually attend a French speaking service on Sunday mornings, however, the church, which is a part of the CECA convention, also offers an English speaking service in the afternoon, which the locals consider “soir” since it gets dark shorty after 6pm.

I’m feeling much better again – I caught a terrible diarrhea at the beginning of the week – and lovely enough the students also prayed for my recovery. But this also shows the need for prayer in order to be under the Lord’s shield.

All in all, we have had a blessed time in Bunia so far and I’m really thankful for having been given the opportunity of being here. And my second newsletter is about to be released.

Thanks for all your prayer support, have a wonderful international day and may God bless you richly,


Serve in Ministry: My Heart Beat


“Your hands formed and shaped me…” Job 10:8a (GN)

 “He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  Eph. 2:10

From the very beginning God has had a plan for you, a plan that involves YOU being involved in his Kingdom work!  The good things God planned for you to DO is determined by the person God has made you to BE.  Your God-given SHAPE determines your God-given ministry.

The “H” in SHAPE is your HEART BEAT.

“For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose…”  Revelation 17:7

The Bible uses the term “heart” to represent the center of your passions and desires.  God has a purpose in giving you your inborn passions — to serve him!  A word of caution:  your heart was designed by God, but you make the choice to use it for good or evil, for selfish purpose or for service.

You may have ”selfish ambition in your hearts…” (James 3:14) or you may ”serve the Lord with all your heart.”  (1 Samuel 12:20) and “do the will of God from your heart.”  (Ephesians 6:6).

Surrender yourself to God and yield your desires to him, and ask yourself…

  • What do I love to do and did well?
  • What are my accomplishments at school, home, work, etc.?
  • About what issues do I care deeply?
  • Do I have a special interest in a specific age group?

Once you’ve answered these questions, look for common threads that run through your list and find a way to express that “heart beat” in the life of the church.  Doing so will please the Lord, benefit others, and give you joy.