By: Christa Meland
Members of the 2018 Annual Conference Session voted Friday to approve a 2019 apportioned budget totaling $6,327,706. That amount represents a 2.4 percent increase over this year’s apportioned budget. The apportioned budget may be increased by no more than 3 percent over the previous year’s budget under a new budget ceiling rule approved at the 2016 Annual Conference.
With an “uncollectible contingency” of $725,000, the total amount to be apportioned in 2019 is $7,052,706. The uncollectible contingency accommodates anticipated shortfalls in some churches’ apportionment payments.
Significant items of note in the 2019 budget are:
· $150,000 of new apportioned funding to help 10 local churches double by 2024.
· $20,000 for a new residency program for clergy, with additional needed funding coming from individual donors.
· $35,000 to increase the ability of the Minnesota United Methodist Foundation to act as the development office for the Minnesota Conference as the conference seeks to fund more through giving beyond apportioned dollars (such as the residency program).
Apportionments are the share each annual conference or local church pays to support international, national, and local missions. Some of the funds remitted by Minnesota congregations stay within the state and help fund various Minnesota Conference programs and mission efforts, and about a quarter of the funds remitted by local churches go to the global United Methodist Church. Apportionments also pay for the internal support system that allows for 100 percent of “second-mile” giving (to Imagine No Malaria and other Advance Specials) to go to the intended mission or ministry.
The 2019 apportioned budget that members approved was recommended by the Council on Finance and Administration (CFA), and the process used to create it was new this year. The conference is moving toward a performance-based budget based on a 2016 recommendation from a Financial Advisory Consulting Team (FACT) within The United Methodist Church. The FACT team performed a comprehensive review of the conference’s financial situation and listed key challenges as well as recommendations to address them.
To create the 2019 budget, every ministry area identified its key outcomes and noted how those outcomes connect to the conference’s overall strategy while making its budget request. Each line item in the budget was carefully reviewed by three leadership teams (first by director-level staff and later by the Extended Cabinet and the Budget Process Team) and received a priority rating of A, B or C depending on how critical it was to the functioning of the conference and how effective it was in addressing strategic priorities—and adjustments to the submitted requests were made accordingly.
Annual Conference members approved the recommended budget quickly and with no debate or discussion.
The apportioned budget is organized around four key areas in our Journey Toward Vitality: developing missional leaders, equipping missional congregations, extending missional impact, and generating missional resources. The Journey Toward Vitality is a roadmap that outlines the conference’s vision and the strategic pathways that will get us there. This roadmap is guiding us in our efforts to increase congregational vitality.
The areas of the budget, and the 2019 apportioned amount budgeted for each, are:
• Developing missional leaders: $885,722
• Equipping missional congregations: $967,278
• Extending missional impact: $1,987,454
• Generating missional resources: $293,997
• Aligning our work: Leadership of the annual conference: $1,074,040
• Aligning our work: Support of the annual conference: $1,119,215
• Uncollectible contingency (under direction of the Council of Finance and Administration): $725,000
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church