By Kara Witherow, Editor
In 2015, the Conference received 90.53% on its apportionments, the highest since 2007. The total collected was $9,377,940.86 on a $10 million budget.
That is an increase from the 88.25% collected in 2014. The Conference also received 95.77% on District apportionments, up from the 91.66% received in 2014.
In addition to what was received for apportionments, $99,765.12 was given for approved Special Sundays and $624,468.48 was given for advance specials and other missional giving.
These increases are cause for praise and celebration, said Rev. Jimmy Cason, chairman of the Conference’s Council on Finance and Administration (CFA).
An understanding of the missional aspect of apportionments coupled with wise stewardship of the Conference’s finances have contributed to the rise in giving, he said.
“The bishop and the district superintendents have done a great job of helping our churches see where their money goes and encourage their giving,” Rev. Cason said. “I think that as our conference has seen that we really are serious about spending money wisely that more and more churches are buying into the fact that wise stewardship is being exercised and that money is being well spent and that they are a part of the mission beyond the local church, through the annual conference, and all over the world.”
Every single church in three districts – North Central, Northeast and Southwest – paid at least some portion of their Conference apportionments. And every church in both the North Central and Southwest Districts paid something on their District apportionments.
Out of 609 churches, 434 paid 100 percent of their apportionments and 33 churches paid more than 100 percent. Only 23 churches paid nothing on their conference apportionments and only 28 paid nothing on their district apportionments.
“We are so grateful that our churches are recognizing the missional value of their apportionment dollar,” said Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services.
He stressed that apportionments help pay for lesser-known and not-often-talked about needs such as disability benefits and pre-1982 retirement pensions.
“Those are important things that often get missed in the apportionment discussion but the apportionments really do enable them to be paid,” Dr. McAleer said.
Expenses are still being tallied, but Conference leaders are confident that they were kept below budget.
“As long as we can see that we are giving to mission and ministry – not a budget – it will allow our conference to expand our mission and ministry in places and in ways that we are unable to do if less money comes in,” Rev. Cason said. “We do believe in a God of abundance, not a God of scarcity.”
Apportionments support conference, district and global efforts to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Some of the conference ministries include the Office of Connectional Ministries, which seeks to resource and support local churches in their disciple formation efforts, and New and Revitalized Congregational Development. On a global level, apportioned dollars support missionary deployment, discipleship resources and much more.