LC: 12. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHARTER HOME: REGARDING FINANCIAL MATTERS
The Charter Home:
A. Is financially stable, lives within its income, operates within a monthly budget, and meets all of its financial responsibilities and obligations by whatever legal means necessary.
It is mandatory that our Charter Homes be financially stable, and stay free of debt by living within their income. The Home should operate within a budget agreed upon by its voting members, and endeavor to meet its financial obligations. "By whatever legal means necessary" means that if some people need to get secular jobs in order to fulfill this clause, it is allowed. In the Home Life Rules, I., you'll find stipulations that must be followed regarding taking jobs.
The financial management of a Home is a major factor in its management. Each Home should decide upon a monthly budget and work to operate within that budget. This should include upcoming expenses such as medical costs for the birth of a baby, travel, visa, and legal expenses such as passport renewals, etc., so that such anticipated expenses don't end up contributing to the Home getting into debt through poor management.
The thing to do when you find you can't live within your income is to either cut your living down to the level of your income, or figure some way to raise the income (ML #1271:2).
We are determined to stay within our budget! We have never ever borrowed any money for our economy, we have always made sure we stayed within our budget and spent only within our income, with even a little left over in a margin of reserves for safety in case of emergency (ML #2037:109).
One of the best ways to practice austerity and make sure you're investing the Lord's money well is to keep a budget. If you're faithfully setting money aside for your bills and regular expenses, you'll be much more on top of it and you'll know exactly where you stand financially, which will help avoid the end-of-the-month "cram" when it comes time to pay your rent (ML #2813:24).
(Question: What's your feeling about people who get jobs to keep the Home going?) Where it's impossible any other way, of course! Paul did it, he made tents part time. He took all kinds of different jobs part time in order to support his missionary work. So if they have to take a job in order to help support the work, that's better than failing. If all else fails and there's no other way, get a job (ML #673:78,79,81,83).
B. Pays its bills on time, keeps current on its financial liabilities and remains out of debt, in accordance with the Financial Rules in the "Fundamental Family Rules."
1. Overdue bills or payments on borrowed funds are considered Home debts that the Home is responsible to pay. After two months of debt the Home is automatically placed on Probationary Notice.
a) Not maintaining the $50 Tool fund per person will be considered a Home debt (see Financial Rules, point C., and Home members will be in violation of the Charter for non-payment).
2. Loans are financial liabilities that the Home is responsible to pay.
The Home must pay its debts and stay current on its payments on any outstanding loans, such as a Home loan, or Service Center or PPC credit. Sub-clauses 1 and 2 differentiate between what is a debt and what is a liability. Throughout the Charter both terms are used. The explanation of the difference between debts and liabilities is found in the Rights of the Individual: Within the Home, B.
If a Home is in debt, meaning that it has unpaid bills for two months in a row, it will automatically be put on Probationary Notice by the continental office.
There are other Financial Rules which need to be followed as well.
God's Word says that we are to provide all things honest toward them that are without, that the ministry be not blamed (2 Corinthians 6:3; 8:21), and so that you do not bring reproach on the cause of Christ as well as the name Children of God! This also includes ... your failure to pay bills or debts that you rightfully owe! You are to owe no man anything, save to love him (ML #143:40,41).
Thank God we as a Family have refused to go the borrowed money route! ... It's been a Family rule all our Family life, except in a few rare cases where we have permitted fairly reliable Homes to borrow a few little dollars to help them over the hump (ML #2538:19).
You can't pay some bills in advance, but you better set aside for them and plan on the fact that it's going to be approximately so much. Set it aside so that you can pay it when it comes, instead of saying, "Oh well, when the bill comes due, the Lord will supply somehow." That's the way a lot of you were operating, and all of a sudden the bottom dropped out. The bills came due, but instead of the Lord supplying, the Lord taught you not to do business that way (ML #701:69).
3. Should a Home member decide to move out of the Home, the member is personally accountable for, and must pay, their portion of any debts and/or liabilities incurred by the Home. (Portion equals the total amount of all debts and/or liabilities divided by the number of voting members 18 years of age and over.)
a) A Home may, by a two-thirds majority, free a departing member from all or some of his portion of the Home's debt and/or liabilities, providing the remaining Home members assume his portion.
This is explained in the Right of Mobility, A. 4.
4. Should the Home disband, each voting member is personally accountable for, and must pay, their portion of any debts and/or liabilities incurred by the Home, in accordance with Rights of the Charter Home, sections C. and D. (Portion equals the total amount of debt and/or liabilities divided by the number of voting members 18 years of age or older.)
If your Home is going to close, the voting members must ensure that all its bills and liabilities are paid. If the time comes for the Home to close and all the bills aren't paid yet, then each member must assume the responsibility to pay for their portion of the Home's debts and liabilities. (See more on this in sections C. and D. of Rights of the Charter Home, and also see Closing Home Form in Appendix B.)
C. Determines all financial direction and decisions by a two-thirds majority.
No major [financial] decisions or purchases, etc., shall be made ... without at least a two-thirds consent of the local Colony Council (ML #329B:44).
1. The Home may make expenditures or incur liabilities, with the understanding that each member has the personal responsibility to pay his or her portion should the Home as a whole be unable to. Liabilities may not be incurred without the agreement of a two-thirds majority of the Home's voting members who are 18 years of age or older.
All financial matters must be voted on and decided by a two-thirds majority of the Home's voting members who are 18 years of age and older. This differs from most other Home matters not having to do with finances, which are decided upon by a simple majority. If the Home has debts or takes on liabilities, such as a Home loan, these belong to the Home as a whole. A portion of that amount only becomes the individual's personal debt or liability when a member, 18 years of age or older, decides to leave the Home, or the Home closes before all of the debt or liability is paid.
The following scenario should give a general idea of the way a Home's finances would work. A certain Home has 14 voting members 18 years of age or older. The Business teamworker proposes a monthly budget to the Home, which they pray about and discuss, then make some modifications and vote to approve. Of the 14 voting members, eight of them are on outreach regularly, while the other six take care of the children and other Home duties. The eight outreachers are the ones who normally bring in the funds for the Home, since the six on childcare and Home duties don't have as much opportunity to witness, although they do go out at least their two hours per week. However, the six that stay behind make it possible for the outreachers to do their work because they take care of the children and other essential Home duties throughout the day.
If for some reason the Home went $1,400 into debt, or took out a Home loan for that amount, it would be owed by the Home, and the outreachers would probably step up their fundraising activities to pay this amount off. The Business teamworker would not say, "Everyone is now responsible to pay off $100 each, so you six childcare people must figure how you're going to pay your $100!" The debt would be the Home's debt collectively, and it would be up to the Home to figure out how to pay it.
If, however, a bit later one of the childcare workers decided that she wanted to move Homes and gave her 30-day notice, then she would become responsible to pay her portion of the Home's debts or liabilities, which in this case would be $100, before departing. And she would need to be given time off from her childcare duties for raising these funds. If the Home felt that they would rather have her continue to take care of the children during her last 30 days in the Home, they could vote that she does not need to pay her debts or liabilities, but that the Home and its remaining voting members will assume it.
We hope this helps explain the concept that debts or liabilities belong to the Home, and a single member is only responsible to pay his portion if he leaves the Home or the Home closes.
2. The Home can authorize its officers to pay specified regular monthly expenses without monthly approval. A two-thirds majority determines "Regular monthly expenses."
3. The Home can authorize its officers to make expenditures up to a predetermined amount set by the Home. Expenditures above this pre-determined amount cannot be made without a two-thirds majority.
Rather than necessitating that the Home meet together every time the rent or other regular monthly bills are due, the Home may decide to have the Home teamwork pay specified regular monthly bills each month without having to get monthly approval via a vote of the Home.
Likewise, the Home may agree to authorize the Home teamwork to spend a specific amount of funds without having to seek prior approval of the Home. For example, the Home could authorize the Home teamwork to spend, or give permission for others to spend, up to a certain amount, say $200. If they did, the teamworker would be authorized to allow the provisioner or shopper to buy something costing up to $200 if the provisioner discovers a bargain while out. The teamworker would not have to ask the Home, since the cost of the item is under the $200 limit the Home has set. If the amount to be spent was over $200, they would have to ask the Home about it first.
The Home may likewise vote to allow the teamwork to authorize the spending of set amounts of the Home's budget; so if the Home has budgeted $100 for home improvements, the Home teamwork can authorize the spending of that amount for that purpose, but would need to get Home approval before spending over that amount.
There may be other cases where the Home decides that someone else besides the Home teamwork might be allowed to spend a set amount, such as the Home's shopper. They may authorize him to spend $100 in the event he decides to buy some item the Home has been looking for, etc.
These two preceding sub-clauses are not meant to imply that you must do these things; they are included to let you know that you can do them if you choose to. Whether or not you give the teamwork this authority, and the amounts you set, is completely up to you. The Home's finances belong to the Home and its members, and it's up to you to collectively decide how they will be managed.
All adults should be aware of the financial state of the Home. And that means all the adults should know the specifics concerning how you're doing financially--how much money is on hand, how the money is being spent, how your Home budget and buffer are doing, what bills are owed, etc.--not just percentages, but actual amounts. All adults should feel responsible for the support of the Home, not just your outreach teams or your poor Business teamworker! (ML #2929:39.)
D. Discloses on a regular basis (but must be at least one time per month) to all voting members the financial standing of the Home, including all financial assets, liabilities, debt, income and expenditures. A two-thirds majority determines "regular basis."
As explained in the Rights of the Individual Within the Home, B., each voting member is entitled to know, and it is the Home's responsibility to disclose, the complete financial state of the Home.
It's up to the Home to decide how often and in what way this information is to be disclosed. It is the Home teamwork's responsibility, and they must disclose this information at least one time per month. Please understand that once a month is not the recommended amount of times, it's the minimum.
One of the most important ways of preventing murmuring is by staying in unity and good communication concerning the finances--your income and your expenses. One of the best ways of doing this is by sharing the know in detail, using the actual numbers instead of just percentages, with all the Home members from senior teens on up. ... This communication will help shift the burden of the finances off the shoulders of just a few people in the Home teamwork and onto the shoulders of all the mature members in the Home (ML #2813:21).
E. Discloses to a voting member, 18 years of age or older, who is considering joining the Home, what his portion of the Home's debt and liabilities will be.
Any member, 18 years or older, who is seriously considering joining another Home has the right to know what his portion of that Home's debt and liabilities amounts to, as part of the criterion for making his decision. (See Right of Mobility, D. 5.) The Home is not expected to reveal any other specifics of their Home's financial matters to the inquiring member.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family