Methodist Financial

United Methodist Financial Decline

on February 13, 2020

United Methodism is increasingly likely to divide into separate traditional and liberal denominations. But even absent this division, the church was already heading towards sharp drops in funding for denominational structures, reflecting United Methodism’s ongoing drop in membership and resources. A recent memo from the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) outlined this reality.

GCFA is submitting to General Conference 2020 a quadrennial budget for United Methodism’s structures of $494 million, an 18% reduction from the 2017-2020 budget. These cuts include 35% for United Methodist Communications (UMCOM), 20% for General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) and General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), 20% for General Board of Higher Education, 15.5% for Discipleship Ministries (DM), 30% for Central Conference (overseas) Theological Education Fund, .5% for Commissions on the Status and Role of Women and Religion and Race, plus 87% for  Interdenominational Fund, which contributes to National and World Councils of Churches.

Although not specifically in this GCFA memo, there’s a 33% proposed drop in funding for United Methodism’s 13 official seminaries. Another church documents admits this drop “should spur a needed conversation about whether or not we can continue to support 13 seminaries and all of our current licensing schools given declining resources.”

The GCFA memo notes that any denominational division will entail additional proportionate reductions. If 20% of USA membership joins a new traditional Methodist denomination, there would be a 20% decline for denominational structures, or an additional $99 million. Every one percent drop in membership potentially means a $5 million quadrennial drop in funding for the denomination.

I believe that at least 2 million USA United Methodists will join a new traditional denomination. Every year United Methodism loses nearly 100,000 members in the USA. During the chaos of the division, this decline will at least double, meaning at least 800,000 likely quite Methodism altogether over the next four years. These combined loses could equal or surpass over 40% of United Methodism’s current 6.7 million USA members. So by 2024 United Methodism’s national bureaucracy could face funding cuts of 60%.

GCFA notes that the proposed Protocol for division calls for United Methodism to pay $25 million to a new traditional denomination, and potentially $2 million to a new progressive denomination. Since GCFA’s proposed budget entails no cuts for the bishops and Africa University, among other projects, the cumulative cut for remaining church structures could be as much as $241 (49%) reduction, assuming a 20% membership drop. A 40% membership drop could ultimately entail a 70% funding drop for denominational structures.

Amid sharp budget cuts for United Methodist agencies, GCFA suggests bureaucratic consolidation,  noting church agencies are currently in 5 cities and 10 separate buildings. Sale of some buildings and moving away from downtown “would realize a significant influx of cash” and “reduce overall cost of operation.” It also notes that their proposed budget sets $154 million (31% of total budget) for educational ministries and wonders if a “smaller denomination” should reduce this support.

GCFA notes that proposed funding for bishops in 2021-2024 is $98 million (20% of current proposed budget), up from $92 million (15% of the budget) in 2017-2020. If United Methodism loses 20% of membership, the Episcopal Fund then accounts for 25% of total proposed budget.  It says current quadrennial costs for each USA bishop is $1.4 million in 46 Episcopal areas. Each of 5 USA jurisdictions is entitled to at least 5 bishops.  Reducing that minimum by 1, or 5 bishops, would save $7 million per quadrennium.  Europe has 4 bishops, each of which costs $1.5. African bishops, of whom there are currently 13 with 5 new Episcopal areas planned, cost $800,000 each. There are 3 Filipino bishops, each costing $800,000.

Salaries and benefits for bishops including retirees are $56 million per quadrennium, office support is $21 million, travel and other support is $5 million. Support for the Council of Bishops is $11 million per quadrennium, with their meetings costing $5 million.

Regarding the $25 million proposed for payment to a new traditional Methodist church and possibly $2 million for new progressive denomination, GCFA suggested these funds could come from increasing apportionments on local churches. Or they could come from reducing payments to church agencies, which would reduce their already scheduled reductions by an additional 7%. It also noted there’s real estate income from buildings owned by church agencies.

My prediction is that GCFA likely underestimates the sharp drop in funding for United Methodist structures over the next four years, with dramatic consequences for the United Methodist bureaucracy.

  1. Comment by CBByrd on February 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Many who still participate in local UMC churches have designated gifts so that they can only be used for local church needs and missions and education activities approved by the local congregation. A couple of years of that, as some have been doing, is having an impact, it appears.

  2. Comment by Jim on February 14, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Yes, that’s what my wife & I do – designate our giving either to the local church’s music program, pastor’s discretionary fund or one of several memorial funds that are controlled by the church trustees.

    We’re done with the UMC bishops and agencies.

  3. Comment by Elaine on February 14, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    Am I reading this correctly, the cost of each bishop is $350,000 annually in the US? Does this amount reflect the salary and benefit package or are administrative expenses, eg travel, lodging, etc included in that budget item?

  4. Comment by Steven-SD on February 20, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    We see a lot of line items in the budget with arguable dollar amounts for salaries, education and missions. What we don’t see are meaningful information on what is being accomplished with all of these resources along with language that shows the goal connection to vibrant and effective results (conversions, significant Spiritual experiences, Faith in Action ministries, etc.). If we had more emphasis on our Faith Relationship with God, I believe that we’d have less controversy over the legalistic arguments that are dividing the church. Effective missions and defined missions that we can empathize and approach with genuine passion, would change our conversations! Peace comes from focusing on the Presence of God in our decision making. Although we reference our connection in obscure theology, it appears that more churches are operating in a humanistic manner instead of a true reference point of Faith. When is the last time a message or activity truly fed your Spirit and motivated you to action that you were genuinely excited? Investing in buildings and programs that are void of a Living Faith defeat the created purpose of a Living Church over dead religion and ritualistic denominationalism.

  5. Comment by Irene on February 25, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    I tried designating my contributions to the Memorial Fund, only to find out that it was being tapped to use on shortfalls in the general budget. I know the financial committee also redirects money from the organ fund. I’ll have to find a new strategy for this year.

  6. Comment by the gentle truth on February 14, 2020 at 7:45 am

    quite/quit

  7. Comment by A.J. Bernard on February 14, 2020 at 8:38 am

    A drop in seminary funding means increased tuition costs passed on to the student. My first year at a United Methodist seminary was $20,000, and I had 3 more years to go. I left because I was going to spend $80,000 to get a $30k a year job. It didn’t make sense.

  8. Comment by Steve on February 14, 2020 at 8:59 am

    That’s nothing compared to other professional schools, like law, medical or engineering. Many people go through seminary with no intention of ever serving as clergy, going into some other sjw profession instead. A church that can only afford to pay $30k a year to clergy probably needs to be closed or consolidated.

  9. Comment by JR on February 14, 2020 at 11:56 am

    “Many people go through seminary with no intention of ever serving as clergy, going into some other sjw profession instead.”

    I wonder what IRD pays.
    https://juicyecumenism.com/author/lomperianreview/

  10. Comment by Steve on February 14, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Inigo Montoya: Who are you?
    Westley: No one of consequence.
    Inigo Montoya: I must know.
    Westley: Get used to disappointment.
    Inigo Montoya: Kay.

  11. Comment by Scott on February 14, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    30k a year is almost below 3/4 time. That’s why we need so many locals now. My AC is licensing 2or3 locals to every elder. Sometimes more. At 30 k a church is better off dropping just below 3/4 time and not have to pay health insurance costs. Many of our elders are overeducated, over loaded with debt, and live in a world isolated from that of the laity. They are required to spend more time in meetings etc than in ministry while their church declines. Locals are often much closer to the congregation in personality, theology and more connected to the community. By the time an elder really connects to a congregation and the community they are moved. Itineracy is only useful when your stuck with a minister who is a bad fit. What worked in 1800 is counterproductive today.

  12. Comment by Kelly McClendon on February 19, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Well said Scott.

  13. Comment by James Williamson on February 20, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Amen, Scott
    We have ceased sending any monies to our Conference.
    We are studying our options.

  14. Comment by Rich on February 14, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    A quick internet search says average first year engineer salaries in US are about $90k, MDs range from $130-$300k+, and JDs start about $140k. $30k isn’t even close. My AC will literally take anyone they can as a local. No wonder the church is sucking wind right now. Do you honestly expect to attract the best and brightest people by paying so little for a degree that takes 4 years? Not rationally. These ACs must want a lot of local pastors. I wonder why? Who benefits by having (in business speak) many franchised locations paying high franchise fees (apportionments) staffed by low paid managers who have little to no upward mobility or income potential thus guaranteeing high turnover? Only those intent on keeping the current status quo. Why is there no leadership development in the UMC? Where are the incentives to do excel?

  15. Comment by Rich on February 15, 2020 at 1:06 am

    A quick internet search says average first year engineer salaries in US are about $90k, MDs range from $130-$300k+, and JDs start about $140k. $30k isn’t even close. My AC will literally take anyone they can as a local. No wonder the church is sucking wind right now. Do you honestly expect to attract the best and brightest people by paying so little for a degree that takes 4 years? Not rationally. These ACs must want a lot of local pastors. I wonder why? Who benefits by having (in business speak) many franchised locations paying high franchise fees (apportionments) staffed by low paid managers who have little to no upward mobility or income potential thus guaranteeing high turnover? Only those intent on keeping the current status quo. Why is there no leadership development in the UMC? Where are the incentives to excel?

  16. Comment by Steve on February 16, 2020 at 10:31 am

    “For all private-sector law firms, the median starting salary in 2016 was $68,375 according to an annual survey from US News & World Report” https://work.chron.com/average-starting-salary-law-school-students-7716.html. Presumably that only includes people that were able to find work; many can’t. “According to the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), only 63% of law graduates from the class of 2015 obtained full time, bar passage required employment.” Glassdoor says the average Methodist pastor salary ranges from $25k to $67k. Like I previously said, I do think a church that pays only $30k needs to be closed or merged; presumably the remaining merged churches could pay more. That’s what other denominations are trying to do. Another thing other denominations are experimenting with in underserved areas: lay clergy (clergy without seminary degrees). Or, have one person serve several churches. I don’t envy you having to make career choices given what college costs these days, but seminary is already cheaper than most other higher education.

  17. Comment by Tad on February 18, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    The avg starting salaries for engineers is not $90k. It’s more in the range of $55-$65. An occasional employer may pay more, but they are few and far between.

  18. Comment by Loren J Golden on February 22, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Average engineer salaries (starting and experienced) are higher in certain areas, based on cost of living, and also varied based on discipline.  Here in North Texas, a starting mechanical engineer would not command a $90K salary, but on the coasts, a starting electrical or chemical engineer might command a six-figure starting salary.

  19. Comment by Brad Barringer on February 14, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    Sounds like you weren’t called.

  20. Comment by Tony on February 14, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    Many are called but few are chosen!

  21. Comment by K.G. Goodwright on February 25, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    I’m reading the threads on salary and upward mobility issues and I’m thinking about the early church. Why would a person go into the ministry for the salary and the upward mobility in the first place? Isn’t it a calling? My husband pastors a small church. He takes no salary and has no benefits. He works full time as a Chemist. My Dad was a pastor for 50+ years and made $75/week sometimes with six kids. That does not negate the responsibility of the church to take care of its pastors but I would want my Pastor to be called by God and to be a person of great faith.

  22. Comment by Brad on March 8, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Sounds like you rung your own number rather than being called. Just looking for an easy job

  23. Comment by John W Marsh on February 14, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Very important issue. Locally I see many Methodists of all stripes jumping ship to go to other denominations or none at all. A few may show up to “visit” twice a year at Easter and Christmas but their dollars are no coming back.

  24. Comment by John Harper on February 14, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Consequences of the overall decline . sadly the good we as a body is being hurt by this division and decline !

  25. Comment by Steve on February 14, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Surprised that the organization has so much money at its disposal. Breeding ground for waste and corruption.

  26. Comment by Dan on February 14, 2020 at 10:01 am

    In my experience the more “orthodox” members tend to be the largest givers, so the decline in giving to the remaining UMC after the split may be more precipitous than expected.

  27. Comment by Bob on February 18, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    I agree . The progressive movement is going to go bankrupt not too long after the split.

  28. Comment by binkyxz3 on February 23, 2020 at 4:27 am

    Not so fast. The LGBTQ crowd will continue to claim victimhood in perpetuity. It all depends on how clean a break the traditionalists can get. There is evil at work here.

  29. Comment by Tim on February 14, 2020 at 10:43 am

    My local rural Methodist church 10 years ago averaged well over 200 in attendance each Sunday. (Early 1970’s over 350 each Sunday and Easter would have close to 600.) Five years ago we averaged 170. Today we average about 120. (Easter we had a little over 200.) Death, issues with leadership from the past three Pastors, same gender national issues within the Methodist Church and the fall out is going to be even greater, no matter which way the vote goes in May, on our local church as you listen to people talk about what they are going to do.

  30. Comment by Walter R Pryor on February 14, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    This debate has been going on since the late 1980s. It is too bad the church leaders did not say no to the LGBT movement.
    If the leaders had just said no the Methodist Denomination would still be growing and growing.
    It is insightful and ironic that even the secular population understands that God is Holy and does not compromise His Holiness for Love.
    The human brain is not very stable and easily deceived by Satan.

  31. Comment by binkyxz3 on February 23, 2020 at 4:35 am

    The Frank Schaefer case which started in 2007 was the road paved with good intentions.
    The church got what it deserved for failing to back the BoD 100%.
    https://www.umnews.org/en/news/top-court-affirms-schaefers-reinstatement-as-clergy

  32. Comment by td on February 14, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    These are true signs of a religious institution that has both failed to pass on the faith to future generations and failed to create new believers by spreading the gospel.

    Truly the umc is a church that has little faith in God and does not value church as a community of believers.

  33. Comment by Barry on February 14, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    You are so correct. Not only the UMC has failed this but most other protestant denominations as well. We have also failed at raising ethical Christian leaders as well. This has a direct impact on the shape the country is in. We are in a mess at many levels.

  34. Comment by Paul York on February 15, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Your first paragraph says it all. This is the root cause of the failure of the UMC.

  35. Comment by William on February 14, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    My, my — they’ve been telling us poor suckers that our tithes and offerings, those not supporting the local church, were going on up the line to MISSIONS. Goodness, this new Traditional Methodist Church is looking better and better by the day. They’re going to cut apportionments of the local church by two-thirds while this restructured Post Separation UMC will certainly have to increase them substantially – and after liquidation of available properties, continue increasing them.

  36. Comment by Cynthia Clark on February 14, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    The twisted church hierarchy FOR YEARS has been making a conscious practice of uprooting well-loved clergy from small towns and cities and replacing them with gays, lesbians, ultra liberals, blacks and others who only disrupt, lecture, condescend and practice division. One removed all American flags from our church in Webb City, Mississippi, even the flag owned by our scout troops. This single, black, bitter lesbian (a single mother) scrapped the traditional hymns and made the congregation sing ‘We shall Overcome’ after lecturing how evil and racist we whites were. The church lost half its membership by the time we forced her out. She was NOT a Christian and told us there were many gods and messiahs. She was true evil yet the United Methodist Church FORCED this demon on us knowing it would destroy our Church! We left the church and learned that this was happening all over the country.

  37. Comment by Tony on February 14, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Perfect illustration of the root of the majority of issues in the UMC today! All of which can be laid at the feet of the majority of Liberal Bishops who have fallen way short of their responsibility to honor Christ and the Church!

  38. Comment by William on February 17, 2020 at 7:47 am

    Just think, in a secular setting, the majority of these bishops would have been fired years ago. But, the UMC signs them on for life to do as they please — never mind any promises they made. Fast forward, they have destroyed the church and ushered in full schism.

  39. Comment by Tamara on February 19, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    This is so true!

  40. Comment by Dr. Charles Klink on February 15, 2020 at 7:21 am

    I know what you mean. My second appointment was to a liberal radical church…and I am not a liberal, but they (the cabinet) wanted a pastor that they said “had the ego-strength to survive” (what they told me years later) and the man I followed to that church was a radical liberal whose first move was to remove the flags. He was there for 5 years and the congregation lost 80% of their attendance (not membership… ATTENDANCE!). Many came back while I was there (4 yrs.) but the damage was done. Church never recovered…pastoral leadership is now less-than-fulltime and average attendance is at 20. But the liberal message was preserved as the pastor before me was reappointed until retirement and is now receiving pension and rarely comes to Annual Conference and enjoying life while his ministry devastated congregations for 40 years+ …and this is just one example of many congregations across our system. Does the system care? It will within the next decade!

  41. Comment by td on February 16, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Our UMC “system” believes church is dead because it is outdated. Which pretty much sums up how they feel about the gospel and the idea of god as well.

    You have to understand that this pastor believed he was liberating his congregations from the oppression. Therefore it makes sense that decline = success.

  42. Comment by Cynthia Clark on February 14, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    Sorry. Autocorrect. It was Webb City Missouri, not Webb City, Mississippi.

  43. Comment by Mike Pinner on February 14, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Cynthia, this has been happening all over the southeastern jurisdiction for years. Right here in East Tennessee, we have been forced to accept and pay some of the sorriest human beings, political activists, SJW’s, and corrupt, money-grabbing excuses for ministers. Some of these men actually steal from their own churches- money, building supplies, equipment, computers, etc. It is appalling. I’ve seen it myself.

  44. Comment by Steven J. Soller on February 14, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    One of these things is a LOT less than the others: “These cuts include… .5% for Commissions on the Status and Role of Women and Religion and Race…” Literally, the UMC is more interested in Social Justice than Discipleship…and a lot more interested than in the Central Conference. Way to prioritize, UMC. Glad none of my tithe goes to you anymore as my wife and I are part of the 100k that quit the UMC in 2019.

  45. Comment by Lisa on February 14, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Neither side will survive in the long run.

  46. Comment by Larry Collins on February 14, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    That has not proven true in the Presbyterian and Episcopal split. The conservative PCUSA is growing and so is the Anglican where conservative Episcopalians went. People are hungry for the true Word. Where it is preached the churches grow. “If I be lifted up I will draw everyone unto myself,”- Jesus

  47. Comment by David Gingrich on February 15, 2020 at 7:10 am

    Larry, you are correct, But is the orthodox PCA that is growing and the liberal PCUSA that is shrinking.

    P.S. Mark said: “My prediction is that GCFA likely underestimates the sharp drop in funding for United Methodist structures over the next four years, with dramatic consequences for the United Methodist bureaucracy.” I agree wholeheartedly. Orthodox Methodists have been financing the UMC. The “progressive” UMC will implode IMO.

  48. Comment by Laura on February 20, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    My family just left the Methodist church for a conservative PCA Presbyterian church and we love it. It’s the first time in years we’ve heard a serious challenging sermon.

  49. Comment by Loren J Golden on February 22, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    The theologically liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) is hemorrhaging about 60K members per year, whereas the theologically orthodox Presbyterian Church in America has seen modest gains most years in the past decade, although the theologically orthodox Evangelical Presbyterian Church has seen slight declines the pas few years.

    There is a serious issue in Evangelical churches, in which personal evangelism is no longer happening, as it once did. As Tim Keller observed a few years ago (https://byfaithonline.com/four-questions-worth-exploring/), Evangelical lay Christians are increasingly being confronted with certain hard questions which they have not been equipped to answer.  It is not as if satisfying answers to these questions do not exist, but the Evangelical Church is, frankly, not doing a good enough job to equip their members to counter the secular, post-Christian metanarrative, which has co-opted certain Christian teachings (e.g., care and concern for the poor) but has established a thoroughly alien approach to human sexuality that makes Biblical teaching on the subject seem out-of-date and irrelevant.

  50. Comment by Dr. Craig Scott on February 14, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    The reality is that if 20% of the current membership moves to the Traditional Methodist Church they are likely to account for 40% of the current dollars in the church.

  51. Comment by Roger on February 14, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    A Financial Advisor for Churches, regardless of denomination, about 15 years ago, said that Churches losing members over 60 years old, that it took 4 younger people to replace their giving to the Church. It appears that the coming Church breakup, will not be able to sustain itself. Many small Churches, of any denomination smaller than 130 each Sunday, has a hard time paying a full time Pastor without them having a second income to supplement it. It appears that the Large Church Organization will be out, except a few, and small churches will go Independent.

  52. Comment by Sonja Marie LeVan on February 14, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    I know the WCA has written a new discipline and is set to go with a new denomination…..not sure it will have Methodist in the name….sad to say…I am 73 was baptised a Methodist at 10….I do not want to see “evangelical” attached to the name because of the evangelicals supporting a no Christian “trump”

  53. Comment by td on February 16, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    You pinpoint a major issue which leaders from all sides have failed to publicly admit: most local umc churches will not choose based on theology but will choose based on culture and worship style.

    There are large areas of the umc that are traditional in belief, but will be adverse to choosing an organization titled evangelical. They will also be hesitant to align with a group that they see might impose charismatic and praise band worship styles.

    I appreciate that the wca has not included evangelical in their name, but false information is rampant and i fear that in most annual conferences the traditional believers are already labeled as racists, homohobes, and sexists- and their leaders will come and impose their holy roller style on you if you join up with them.

  54. Comment by William on February 16, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Let it assume the natural, already recognizable, understandable name already being used to describe this emerging denomination — The Traditional Methodist Church.

  55. Comment by td on February 17, 2020 at 10:57 am

    My guess is that they will want each church to brand itself- like the megachurches are already doing- and then just have an affiliation that isn’t really “branding”. I’m not sure i agree with that approach, but i think most of the powerful churches in the traditional denomination will want to do their own thing.

    I would think that good affiliation names are along the lines of “Wesley Methodist Church”, “Covenant Methodist Church”.

    But we have to acknowledge that most of the big movers in the wca view evangelical as their identity, so something like “Methodist Evangelical Church” would be on their minds- especially since that ties in with the historic name of Methodist Episcopal Church. If they listed evangelical behind methodist i think that would probably limit the negative impact that the word may have in the north and midwest

  56. Comment by Cindy Andrews on February 14, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    I grew up in a small Church, so special to me. I was saved in that Church, baptized, Sunday School teacher, pianoist, Youth leader, etc. In the 1970’s when abortion was the main topic, a lot of UM believed the church was headed in the wrong direction; I was one of them. The UMC is not God. Be His. Don’t let sentimentality rule you. But, you have to do what your heart leads you to do. All of this is so very sad. So sad. And what is happening to the UMC is also happening to our Country – being torn down, a little at a time, until one day we won’t recognize it. I fear what my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have to face. Oh Lord, help us.

  57. Comment by Paul C Prose Jr on February 14, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    I think that money is wasted in the bureaucracy, so I prefer to send more to the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. We should give those children the best lives that we can.

  58. Comment by Bob on February 14, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    We gave very generously (beyond normal tithe) at the UMC we attended for years. When we finally had our eyes opened to what was going on, we left (along with most of the conservatives, and yes, there went the large share of the income). Hate to say it, but the scars from that experience have affected the way we give now, even though we are currently satisfied with the conservative church we are attending. We’re wary of building up another church and watching it succumb to societal pressure. So we give (generously), but only some to the church. We choose other worthy Christian and non-Christian organizations – all of whom mirror our values. And we are choosing not to leave money to the church in our wills – same reason.

  59. Comment by Larry Collins on February 14, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    I’m sorry you had a terrible experience at a church you supported so well. I would challenge you to rethink your current giving pattern. There are many fine para-church and other non-profit organizations. But there is only one church of Jesus Christ. If your current church is where your feet are and you approve of the programs, they deserve your full support.

  60. Comment by Polly on February 14, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    I left the Methodist church when I saw how our new preacher handled people and money. He should have never been a preacher. The very holy church within a church, Walk to Emmaeus, never stood up to him. They were the church leaders. Finally after nearly breaking the church, he was voted out. No more Methodist bureaucracies for me.

  61. Comment by Chuck on February 15, 2020 at 2:12 am

    The preacher shouldn’t be handling the money, except his own. The money is handled by the trustees, finance committee, treasurer and the financial secretary. The pastor, regardless of how good or bad he is in that position, has nothing to do with it. Maybe as a co-signer on checks. Definitely the way it is and always has been at my local church.

  62. Comment by Andrea on February 15, 2020 at 12:39 am

    Self-inflicted demise.

  63. Comment by Donald on February 15, 2020 at 6:04 am

    Didn’t the American delegates to that Global Convention threaten the African delegates they would stop funding African missions if they didn’t vote for the Progressive plan? I believe the Africans told them they could keep their money…and may have also said something to the American delegates about a door. But I can’t recall the exact quote.

  64. Comment by John Smith on February 15, 2020 at 7:51 am

    My UMC church actually pays its apportionments so until this mess sorts out I’ve designated my tithe to specific local missions in the church. If we go WCA, which is not certain, I wonder if they will be more accountable of if I’ll have to continue the practice.

  65. Comment by Bob on February 16, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    I would encourage you to look into the accessibility of your “designated” funds for other purposes. Before our departure from the UMC, we went the “designated” route, as you are doing. Then we learned that, given certain conditions – or by vote of the Admin. Council (or some group given the power to do so), designated funds could be appropriated for things other than those for which the givers designated them.

  66. Comment by John Smith on February 17, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Yes, I know that the funds can be redirected at the discretion of the appropriate committees, leaders, etc. Most people never read the BOD or articles which is why many an Elder, when wanting to do something lacking support loves to say “In the BOD….” That is why I pick ones unlikely to be interfered with.

  67. Comment by JIm on February 15, 2020 at 8:16 am

    About ten years ago I began teaching an adult class in a local UMC church. We gave up the denominational literature and began using only the Bible. The class has grown from 10 to over 125. If our church was to follow the more liberal line, I’m sure these adults who are grounded in Scripture would leave the church and the budget would lose most of its tithers. Many of these are already e to designate giving to local missions.

  68. Comment by Lizzie Warren on February 15, 2020 at 8:38 am

    I was financial Secretary of another denomination for five years.

    The conservative members of the congregation contributed the vast majority of offereings. Literally, widows on a modest fixed income gave more in raw dollars than the wealthy professionals who attended.

    I struggled hearing members assuming the wealthy were the biggest contributors. I kept the confidence but it was an enlightening experience.

  69. Comment by mountaingirl on February 27, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    I’m a UMC pastor’s wife (retired), whose husband refused to ever have anything to do with the finances — all done by Trustees or the Finance Committee along with church treasurer. However, they did give him feedback about the trends of the congregation’s giving. After 40 years of ministry, I can assure you that in most UMC’s, it seems the bulk of the giving is consistently done by biblical conservatives, and often the most “raw dollars” are given by those who are the least wealthy.

  70. Comment by Michael on February 15, 2020 at 10:08 am

    Annual polls demonstrate that conservative Christians, especially Southerners, are much more generous in charitable giving than other subsets – and the generosity goes well beyond generous giving for their churches’ internal needs. One of our conventional Methodist ministers sat, on an airline trip, next to another Methodist minister, whose budget doubled ours. They agreed that the difference was the degree to which Jesus was preached. People contribute – apparently and logically – less to “needs” than excitement about the Gospel. The continuing, but revised, standard denomination that lies ahead will, over time, suffer from both membership and financial loss, which will be exacerbated when they learn that the denomination’s emphasis (inevitably) is less on discipleship and evangelism than social justice, internal and external. We, stoked by our too-powerful clergy and administrative careerists, are forfeiting our denomination’s earlier respect as a powerhouse for propagating the Gospel.

  71. Comment by Pat on February 17, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    What the local Methodist church decides to do will determine the real future of the traditional or progressive Methodist church if the protocol passes at the May convention. I was raised Methodist, saved in a Nazarene church, led to a Baptist church for over 20+ years when there was no Nazarene church available and then back to the Methodist church where the Bible is preached and believed! The Lord will lead us to a new church if necessary or our current Methodist church will remain traditional after the separation. As long as our local church is traditional with a full believe in what our Bible says regarding all things, then I hope to remain a Methodist. If a liberal pastor is assigned then those of us, as so called traditionalists, will leave and find a new church home. The General Conference should be interesting in May. But, the power brokers probably already have it worked out.

  72. Comment by William on February 17, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Oh goodness no, your local Methodist church will not remain traditional after separation. It would be part of the restructured Post Separation UMC that will liberalize its sexual ethics, marriage definition to include same-sex marriage, and liberalize its sexual standards for ordination. For your local church to remain traditional, it will have to join the new Traditional Methodist Denomination that will emerge.

  73. Comment by Paul Rudolph on February 18, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    I have already stopped contributing to our church. It has voted against the “traditional plan” that had been suggested. I have asked our pastor at least three times that, if the Bible is the inspired word of God, as she once told me, does it mean that 1 Corinthians 6:9 is true and to be believed? I cannot get an answer from her. It is time to leave, I think.

  74. Comment by Tad on February 18, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    I think you’re right!

  75. Comment by One Trick Pony on February 19, 2020 at 7:19 am

    To see where the UMC is headed, one need only look to the fate of the Boy Scouts of America.

  76. Comment by Linda Cebrian on February 19, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Exactly. This is what happens when the Great Commission is abandoned in favor of “inclusion.”
    (And as far as homoerotic activism is concerned, this is their modus operandi – infiltrate to change an institution to their viewpoint or destroy it from within.)

  77. Comment by Howard on April 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    With the new crisis of Covid 19, local churches must become the priority. Rural churches are hurting. With support of REAL evangelism and discipleship world wide. It is time that the people who have led us into the denominational crisis be held accountable. Bishops, boards and agencies need HUGH bloated budget, salary and staff cuts.

  78. Comment by Randy on May 19, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Mark says “My prediction is that GCFA likely underestimates the sharp drop in funding for United Methodist structures over the next four years, with dramatic consequences for the United Methodist bureaucracy.” This was before COVID…giving trends now are being impacted by fear, unemployment, business closure, stock portfolio losses, etc. Post COVID there may not be much left of the various UMC institutions.

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