Thursday, December 06, 2007

Math for RevGals

Years ago now, I had to take the GRE as part of my seminary application process. I thought it was dumb that I had to take the math portion because, come on--how much math did a pastor need to know??


So, as evidence of the importance of doing your math homework I present these clergy math word problems-- they are all calculations I've had to do in the past two days.

1. Your congregation is supporting a holiday party for families in need (sponsored by a community organization). You have agreed to provide the hams. Sponsoring organization has informed you that they expect about 350 guests and will need 22 hams. Your cookbook at home says that ONE large ham will provide about twenty to thirty servings. In addition, you know that at least half of the guests will be children. Do you really need to buy 22 hams? If not, estimate how many hams you DO need to buy.

2. History shows that by mid December your church will have received 90% of the stewardship pledges it is going to receive for the following year. If you have received $X in pledges by Dec. 5, what can you estimate the total dollars pledged for 2008 will be?

3. It finally rained! Hard! The custodian has turned off the sprinkler system for now. If it rains again this weekend, he can keep the system turned off another week at least. If the church's water bill usually runs $x/week, how much money will you save by the end of the month if it keeps raining?

4. A keen minded Session member has noted that the cost of utilities to run your church's pre-school annually is roughly equal to the congregation's projected budget deficit for this year. Are they correct? Describe the process by which you would analyze what portion of the church's utility bill is ascribable to the preschool's utility use?

Seeing as how my verbal score was nearly 300 points higher than my analytic score on that darned test, it's a wonder they keep me employed around here . . .

10 comments:

SpookyRach said...

Math prowess is a sign of demon possession, as far as I'm concerned.

Songbird said...

Um, wow. Your job sounds WAY harder than mine!
But I will say this. When that kind of statistic is quoted about a nursery school, it's usually an effort to get rid of the nursery school. At Small Church there was once an epic battle over how many times the children flushed the toilet, and although it was before my time, they loved to tell the story.

Presbyterian Gal said...

The answer to number 1 is 15 hams. 16 if the children are pudgy.

The answer to number 2 is by Dec. 5th of next year you will have received exactly 75.23186% of the 90% that was pledged as of Dec. 5th this year. PLUS 3 chickens, a goat and a tire iron as "gifts in kind".

The answer to number 3 is zero, because some well meaning congregant noticed the sprinklers were turned off, hadn't watched the weather channel, and turned them back on again.

The answer to number 4 is this formula: Church Utility Bill monthly total divided by total Session members' years in grad school, multiplied by keen minded Session member making this observation's 2007 tax return deduction for charitable donation.

PCIT's pastoral gifts to this church: Priceless!

Answer to Spookyrach comment: BWAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *as head spins 360 degrees*

Coach said...

I was promised there would be no math.
That's what we have finance committees for.
And I'd rather have turkey than ham.

Gord said...

#1--Is your cookbook correct on the number of servings? I would use the low end just in case--20 I would also guess high on how much they would eat. THus I would buy slightly more than PG, say 17 or 18. Remember leftover ham can always be sent home with guests or to a local shelter or...

#2--X=0.9T Where X is the amount pledged and T is the total estimated pledges. So divide X by 0.9 and you should have it.

#3--how much of said water bill is going to the sprinklers? ANd to really save plant stuff that needs less water (no lawn). Other than that PG is likely right.

#4 Can't find a better answer than SB and PG already have. Oh and mention how blessed you are to be able to offer space for children and wonder aloud how much children are worth....

Rev Kim said...

When we were planning our annual Christmas progressive dinner at my home church, we called a place that specializes in hams and asked them how much to figure each person would eat - the figure varied whether the ham was the main course or if it was one of many appetizers on a buffet - but I think they said to figure 1/4 - 1/3 lb. per person. But you might want to call your local supermarket or catering company.

Shalom said...

See, now, one of the reasons I went into this gig was because I thought all the math I had to do was count to three: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Good luck with it all, though. We've had similar conversations about the costs of having a daycare - and it usually comes down to what outreach is really worth. Priceless, one would hope.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I think that they need to hire you with an assistant with the money that they save by using coupons to purchase said hams.

jledmiston said...

This is excellent stuff and you're right about the math. And yet . . . I still tune out when integers are required.

JWD said...

I broke into cold sweats over this.