By: Christa Meland
Did you know that you made it possible last year for two new churches to launch, one church to expand to a second location, 20 churches to begin intensive revitalization processes, and hundreds to learn new tactics at breakthrough workshops?
These are just a few of the things made possible through churches’ apportioned giving—which enables life-changing mission and ministry in Minnesota and across the globe.
In 2016, congregations within the state collectively remitted 87.7 percent of the requested apportionments—down slightly from 89.1 percent in 2015 and about even with the four-year average of 87.8 percent. Approximately three-fourths of Minnesota churches paid 100 percent of their apportioned amount last year. Apportionments are the share each local church pays to support international, national, and local missions.
“Apportioned funds help us reach new people for Christ and heal a broken world in the name of Jesus locally and around the world,” said Barb Brower, the Minnesota Conference’s director of finance and administration, and treasurer. “Thank you to all of the churches that pay 100 percent of their apportioned funds and to those working to increase their giving each year. Your dollars matter.”
Minnesota Conference apportionments
The Minnesota Conference’s 2016 apportioned budget totaled $6.1 million; the $6.7 million that was apportioned to churches includes a $600,000 “uncollectible contingency,” the anticipated shortfall in apportionment remittances.
The majority of the funds remitted by Minnesota congregations stay within Minnesota and help fund various Minnesota Conference programs and mission efforts. Some of the things that apportionment dollars fund within the conference are:
• New church starts across the state (in 2016, Northwest Minneapolis United Methodist Hmong Ministry and North Summit Church began worship services—and Centennial UMC launched a second campus)
• Revitalization processes for churches (in 2016, 20 churches entered a transformational process)
• Training (through Breakthrough Workshops, Lay Servant Ministries, the Clergy Leadership Academy, and other avenues) for clergy and laity
• The ELI Project, an internship program for college students exploring a call to vocational ministry (in 2016, seven students participated)
• Soul Leaders, a clergy retreat series that expanded last year to include 10 new clergy compass groups
• Credentialing, appointments, and supervision for clergy
• Administration of pension and health insurance plans for clergy
• Congregational development grants to support new ministries and outreach efforts
• The conference’s camping ministry and thousands of dollars in camp scholarships given to those who couldn’t otherwise attend camp
• Access to Christian education tools, relevant recommendations, and ecumenical resources from the Resource Center for Churches
• Support for the Minnesota United Methodist Foundation, which advises churches on planned giving, stewardship, and investment of church assets
• Digital, print, and social media that provide a contact point for Minnesota United Methodists and seekers, and that share stories of the conference’s work and witness in the world
General church apportionments Twenty-four percent of funds remitted by local churches goes to the global United Methodist Church to pay for ministry and mission around the world. At the general church level, the money supports bishops, United Methodist ministerial education, most general agencies, and denomination-wide efforts such as the Black College Fund, which supports historically black colleges in the United States, and Africa University in Zimbabwe, the only United Methodist-related, degree-granting University on the continent.
General church apportionments also make it possible for 100 percent of Advance giving (or special gifts—including those to disaster relief projects and other humanitarian efforts) to go to the intended project or ministry.
Minnesota paid $1.6 million in general church apportionments in 2016—representing 100 percent of the total amount requested from the conference. The majority of that sum came from local church remittances, which were supplemented with $191,000 in Minnesota Conference reserve funds. After careful evaluation, the Minnesota Council on Finance and Administration determined that there were enough reserves to make up the difference between the general church request and the amount given by local churches. That’s partly thanks to strong investment returns in 2016—and the July 2016 sale of the historic Wesley building also was a contributing factor, Brower said.
Non-apportioned giving and Love Offering
Minnesota United Methodists have a strong history of generosity and last year gave $1.5 million above and beyond apportionments to various ministries and causes. This mission giving included the conference's Reach • Renew • Rejoice congregational development initiative, General Conference Advance Specials, Minnesota Conference Advance Specials, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Imagine No Malaria, Special Sundays, and the Minnesota Conference Love Offering.
Donations to the 2016 Love Offering, an annual offering that Minnesota churches take annually to support missions, totaled $96,400. The Minnesota Council of Churches Refugee Services received 40 percent of that total, the United Methodist Committee on Relief received 10 percent to cover the cost of shipping more than 13,000 health kits that Minnesota churches assembled and prepared, International Child Care in the Dominican Republic received 40 percent, and Volunteers in Mission scholarships received 10 percent.
RELATED RESOURCE: View your church’s 2017 apportionments and recent financial statements
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church