By: Christa Meland
Minnesota United Methodists’ generous giving in 2015 enabled life-changing mission and ministry locally and around the world.
Last year, congregations within the state collectively remitted 89.1 percent of the requested apportionments—up from 87.1 percent in 2014 and above the four-year average of 86.3 percent.
“Apportioned funds help us reach out in the name of Jesus here in Minnesota and across the globe,” said Barb Brower, the Minnesota Conference’s director of finance and administration, and treasurer. “We are so grateful for all of the churches that pay 100 percent of their apportioned funds and for the churches working to increase their giving each year.”
Apportionments are the share each local church or annual conference pays to support international, national, and local missions.
Minnesota Conference apportionments
The Minnesota Conference’s 2015 apportioned budget totaled $6 million; the $6.6 million that was apportioned to churches includes a $600,000 “uncollectible contingency,” the anticipated shortfall in apportionment remittances. The 2015 apportioned budget was about $250,000 less than the 2014 budget because a portion of it was covered by pension benefit and health reserve funds.
Almost 60 percent of Minnesota churches have paid 100 percent of their apportioned amount for at least five years, and 79.1 percent of churches paid 100 percent in 2015.
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
• Revitalization processes for churches
• 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
• Soul Leaders, a clergy retreat series that’s being expanded to encompass other types of clergy peer 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
• 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 management 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
About a quarter of the funds remitted by local churches goes to the global United Methodist Church to pay for ministry and mission efforts supported by the worldwide church. 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 $1.56 million in general church apportionments in 2015—representing 95.42 percent of the total amount requested from the conference. For the previous three years, the conference paid 100 percent of its general church apportionments by supplementing local church remittances with Minnesota Conference reserve funds. But the Council on Finance and Administration determined there weren’t enough excess reserves to make up the full difference last year. The conference did pay 100 percent of the requested amount for the World Service Fund, which underwrites Christian mission around the world, the Black College Fund, and Africa University.
Non-apportioned giving and Love Offering
In addition to apportioned giving in 2015, Minnesota United Methodists contributed more than $815,000 to 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 2015 Love Offering, an annual offering that Minnesota churches take annually to support missions, totaled $102,000. Grace Children's Center in Vietnam received 60 percent of that total, grants to help churches partner with local schools received 30 percent, and Volunteers in Mission scholarships received 10 percent.
Minnesota Conference apportionments guide
View your church’s 2016 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