Yes, we face many challenges in funding the ministries we value. Still, we have many reasons to give thanks to God. Here are some of the things we have accomplished together:
Minnesota Conference apportionment receipts through the end of August 2010 did not decline but are at a similar level as in recent years.
Minnesota United Methodists contributed over $400,000 in 2010 to United Methodist Committee on Relief’s Haiti earthquake recovery.
Minnesota United Methodists completed their significant financial commitment to our Russia United Methodist Church partner in 2009.
Recent stewardship seminars sponsored by the Minnesota United Methodist Foundation, with assistance from the Minnesota Annual Conference, have been well attended. Experts shared practical and proven strategies for improving financial stewardship so that churches can engage in mission and ministry that are vital at any time and especially in times like these.
Across the United Methodist Church, congregations on average retain 84 cents of every dollar put in the collection plate. In Minnesota, congregations on average retain 90 cents of every dollar they collect.
The Minnesota Annual Conference as an organization exceeds the guidelines suggested by charity watchdog groups for measuring efficiency with donated funds. These groups suggest that a charity is efficient if less than 30 percent of its budget is spent on administrative items. The Minnesota Conference’s 2011 apportioned budget identifies 17 percent for administration. Adding to the apportioned budget items such as the health insurance plan, youth events, all other benevolences such as the Advance, and the group workers’ compensation program, the Minnesota Conference spends under 10 percent of its total annual operating budget on administration.
All these additional programs and activities are possible because apportioned funds provide staff, facilities, accountability, and leadership. The items supported directly and indirectly through the apportionments are essential to our ministries of reaching out to new people and cultivating spiritual vitality.
Barbara Carroll is director of finance and administration for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.