March 6, 2018
This is our last in a series of Blogs on the topic of Methodist Connectionalism, the glue that holds our denomination together. In our last blog we indicated that nearly 14% of our budget or $73,000 annually goes to support or denomination’s Annual and General Conferences. These funds are used to support the overall administrative costs for our denomination, for ministerial education, world service, clergy support, and for our black and African colleges and universities.
The question naturally arises what is the value of these expenditures? What do these ministry shares (expenditures) allow our “connected” Methodist denomination to achieve together.
The World Service Fund
This is the heart of our denomination-wide presence, underwriting Christian mission and ministry around the world:
- Undergirds a network of missionaries around the world
- Supports ministries with children, youth, singles, students, persons who are mentally and physically challenged, adults and older persons
- Provides leadership and coordination youth ministry
- Continues nearly 200 years of commitment to college and graduate education
- Certifies Christian educators, communicators and musicians
- Works to encourage a more ethical, just and humane world
- Helps us dialogue with other Christians and people of other faiths
- Provides communications technologies and mass media presence
- Expresses our commitment to God’s reign through ministries of peace and justice, and efforts to build a church and a society truly inclusive of all persons regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or handicapping condition
The Ministerial Education Fund
This fund helps thousands of men and women become pastoral leaders in The United Methodist Church through:
- Annual Conference scholarships
- Support for our 13 United Methodist seminaries
- Programs that encourage people to explore and respond to the call to full time ministry
- Continuing education opportunities for pastors
- Course of Study for local pastors
Africa University Fund
Since 1992, Africa University has helped educate hundreds of men and women from 20 countries. Offering provided by United Methodists built the University and support its ongoing operations, including building maintenance, utilities, classroom equipment and supplies, faculty and staff salaries, and other operational expenses.
Black College Fund
The Black College Fund supports the programs and ministries of 11 historically Black colleges and universities. This apportioned fund supports departmental research, libraries, operations and physical plant maintenance. It also supports capital expenditures such as new buildings, major remodeling projects and endowments. These 11 historically Black colleges and universities provide opportunities for many students of promise who otherwise might be excluded from the educational process. They provide a high-quality education and produce
The Episcopal Fund provides economic support for our bishops and their ministries by helping to pay for:
- Office expenses
- Episcopal residences
- Pension and health benefit and disability coverage for Episcopal families
- Moving expense support
General Administration Fund
The General Administration Fund apportionment supports general church administrative activities:
- Maintains a system of management oversight and fiscal accountability;
- Underwrites the legislative work of General Conference, the arena in which United Methodists come together to work through their differences and to discover the important things that unite them;
- Supports the work of the Judicial Council to adjudicate questions of church law;
- Maintains official documents and historical artifacts of The United Methodist Church and predecessor denominations; and
- Designates historical church shrines, landmarks and sites.
Together as a connected Methodist denomination we could not do any of these things without our local church’s “Ministry Share.” Our 14% is value added indeed!