Mind the GA(A)P

Leadership // August 4, 2009

It has a white background; the words “MIND THE GAP” are white inside a dark blue bar and behind the bar is a thick red circle. If you have ridden on the London Underground, you know this sign. It is positioned on the wall as you exit a train car to remind you to step over the gap between the train car and the platform. I like this sign. It reminds me of riding subways in New York City while on vacation as a child. It also challenges me to think about the gap between what I believe and what I do.

I am anticipating the end of summer and the beginning of fall. I know that, for many churches, the fall season heralds that anxiety-ridden process of budget planning. The anxiety will probably be greater this fall because of the loud, loud noise of the recession. Budget planning time is when we should mind the gap between what we as Christians believe and what we do.

Usually, budget planning is undertaken by finance committees who are mindful of another gap with a similar pronunciation. They are aware of GAAP, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

The GAAP include guidelines, standards and procedures that accountants use to compile accounting statements. GAAP intends that all financial reporting has the same assumptions and can be understood uniformly.

Those who do budget planning this fall would be wise to mind an additional GAAP. The Generously Applied Abundance Principles are a needed addition to the process in which financial plans (ministry and mission) will be formulated for 2010. This GAAP  is built upon the character of God which is gracious, loving and generous. Humanity, created in the image of God, inherits a generosity gene that requires expression.

Another principle of this GAAP is that there is an abundance for every good work that the church is called to do (II Corinthians 9:8). This GAAP calls for the application of faith as leaders mind the gap between what they believe and what they plan to do.

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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