Budget time is here again at Wesley. This is always a difficult time for the
senior staff, Officers and members of the Board as we need to predict how much
money we will raise over the next year and how much we will be able to spend.
Even the best of budget processes can be just one percent under on income and
two percent over on expenditure. With our budget that equals over four million
dollars that we have to cut out of our work!
Trimming our work to fit
the budget is a balancing act with many people critical of whatever we do. Some
people present new needs in the community that simply must be answered if we are
Christian. Some older areas of our work, such as caring for the homeless, just
create larger deficits every year. Areas, like child-care, have seen the
Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and the Salvation Army and Sydney City
Mission close all their residential child care centres, which means we have to
do so much more. LifeLine, for forty years a deficit funded activity, has just
opened a new LifeLine service in Sutherland to meet growing needs. Some areas
like Wesley Institute, having had high deficits during their start-up phase
have, thankfully, been reducing their deficit.
We are not afraid to close
a centre that is not working (Wesley Funeral Service) nor to heavily reduce an
area that cannot compete against aggressive competitors (Wesley Clothing). But
making the right decisions is never easy. Reduce staff by one person in one area
of work, and some people with tunnel vision for their particular favourite
charity go ballistic. Others threaten never to give a donation again or cease
being volunteers. Others argue their activity is absolutely more important than
Leadership is the art of seeing the big picture, balancing
the priorities, making tough decisions, and living without taking notice of
those who threaten and bully. Budget time is a time for you to pray for wisdom
for our key people. They need the skills of good leaders.