Bria Gilmore is the Discipleship Pastor at Bay Chapel, a church existing to help people find God and find life through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The vision of Bay Chapel is a real and authentic community where people can find passionate worship, Christ-centered community and a life-giving message.
“My role changed into Discipleship Pastor about a year ago; however, I was still carrying the load of overseeing all things financial, hiring [and] HR,” Bria remembers. “With the demand in the pastoral role picking up a lot more, it was really just perfect timing to meet BELAY.
“A lot of my responsibilities were still pretty much in the weeds. Going into QuickBooks, categorizing expenses, keeping up with cardholders and what they were and weren’t spending, loading up their cards — the day-to-day responsibilities of someone on the team who could be completely devoted to that.”
Adding teaching on the pastoral team and working on sermon preparations in her new role, Bria was no longer able to commit to the full devotion the financials of a church require.
Bay Chapel is an ARC church, and when Bria started to feel the weight of balancing her new responsibilities, she navigated to the ARC website and browsed their list of resources and organizations they recommend and partner with.
“Underneath the section related to financials and administration was BELAY,” Bria says. “I clicked [the link] from there and initiated the conversation.”
Enter BELAY Bookkeeper Carol Peterson.
Carol’s bookkeeping services have provided an added layer of accountability and oversight for Bay Chapel.
“With Carol’s expertise and what she brings to the table, she really is a part of how we do ministry,” Bria says. “I know she cares just as much about our church and about the financial success of our church.
On our first call, Carol and [our CSC] were on the call together, and I remember hanging up and I could have cried [from] the relief I felt. And every call since, that’s the feeling I get when I hang up from Carol.”
“I used to carry so much of this, and I didn’t even realize how much I was carrying, wanting to make sure it was done well and ethically. I have a huge integrity bone, so I was carrying the weight of it and to know that she was able to enter right into the picture and literally carry this burden along with us has been spectacular.”
From the beginning, Bria was able to delegate expense reports, including categorizing expenses and reconciling accounts, as well as the production of monthly reports for the leadership team and payroll.
“Until establishing a relationship with BELAY, I was doing [payroll] manually,” Bria says. “We were managing an Excel spreadsheet timesheet for our hourly employees. It was labor intensive. With the timekeeping and payroll solutions that we were about to utilize through BELAY, I don’t even have to think about it.”
“Organizationally, the separation of duties from an integrity and accounting standpoint is always nice,” Bria says.
“A lot of the load was on one individual, and adding the additional layer is a huge win in the books. When our trustees review reports, we didn’t miss a beat. Everything is consistent.”
“From a personal standpoint, I have learned that I deeply value my work, what I do and what I contribute. And so even the relinquishing of responsibilities — though, I know I needed to, I was really kind of forced to.
“Honestly, if I could have managed it, I would have.
“The biggest win in my leadership, as I continue to grow and learn, is recognizing there are so many gifted people who can accomplish and do what we need to do. And [not only do I not] need to hold it all, but I’m not supposed to hold it all.”