When We All Get TOGETHER …

Together We Can

First Quarter Giving

The title of this blog is a paraphrase of the familiar song we sing, but the idea is the same. I was reminded of that song title as I looked through our giving trends for the first quarter of 2017.

This is the first year for the Central Conferences to contribute to apportionments in a formal way.  Work of the leadership in the Central Conferences, the Economic Advisory Committee, the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and others helped us get to this point. Their work developed a formula that is being used this quadrennium to fully engage Central Conferences in general Church apportioned giving.  Developing this formula honors the tradition of many conferences outside the US that informally participated prior to this year.

We have started the year with great participation. Through March, the collections are 13.1% of the full year’s apportionment.  This rate is comparable to that in the U.S. and is a great beginning to this new process.  Globally, Special Sunday collections are 6.8% higher than last year thanks to the generous giving of our members on World Communion Sunday.

Apportionment Giving

Apportionment collections through March are $1.1 million, or 6.4%, higher than the same period last year.  We recognize that for many members, local churches, and annual conferences connectional giving is a priority even if locally finances are tight.

It is apparent that many recognize the value of “getting together” to support global ministries to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in all the ways that we do this in The United Methodist Church. The evidence proves that the people of The United Methodist Church are committed to giving to supporting global ministries.

Each of the seven funds shows increased collections compared to last year. The overall collection rate through March is 12.4% compared to 11.9% a year ago. The highest collection rate is Africa University at 15.1% with its collection up 10%!  With over 6,000 alumni, this funding will provide an education for many more people in Africa.  It also demonstrates the importance of this mission to all United Methodists.

Other funds that show increases above 10% are the Black College Fund and the General Administration Fund.

All of these trends demonstrate the generosity and commitment to God’s mission by those in The United Methodist Church. When we all come TOGETHER for the benefit of the global ministries of the denomination, great things happen for those whom we serve.  Thank you for your faithful witness of fruitful giving.

Rick King

Chief Financial Officer

The General Council on Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church

At GCFA, Together We Can

Together We Can

Welcome to a New Year! As with all areas of our lives – personal, professional or spiritual – the start of 2017 brings some change and at the same time joyful expectation of all that the future can, with God’s grace, hold. for us

At GCFA, the new year brings us the realization that our General Secretary, Moses Kumar, begins a six-month sabbatical from January 1 – June 30, 2017. For more than eight years Moses has led GCFA in its many initiatives relating to services to The United Methodist Church. We send our corporate and personal prayers for him during this time off for rest and renewal.

Together We Can

We will miss our colleague for sure during these six months, but even with Moses’ absence, our core ministry continues. What does this mean for us and for you? Every person at GCFA is poised and ready to continue our ministry of administration throughout the United Methodist connection. Just as before, all of us are available to provide support to the vital ministries with which you are so important a part. Together, we can and will continue our work.

Several members of the GCFA Executive Leadership Team will provide content for this blog over the next several months, providing insight into the efforts of individual teams within GCFA. Hopefully, through this vehicle we can communicate appropriately how we are living into our mission for the coming year.

I will close this entry with the words Helen Keller so eloquently used by her to describe what it means to “live by each other and for each other.” According to Ms. Keller, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” This is how we intend to pursue our mission at GCFA during 2017.

Thank you and may God continue to bless you in your ministry during 2017.

Steve Lambert
General Counsel

Merry Christmas from GCFA

Christmas Love

Merry Christmas

It is with the birth of Jesus that something extraordinary happened in this world. As we go through the rest of the coming year, let us always remember that in Christ’s birth, love came down and took on human flesh, making it impossible for us to ever say, “We humans cannot love.”

In taking on the human form, Jesus made it clear to us that we can love as God loves us – unconditionally. Both our neighbors and our enemies who in the final analysis are both one in the same – our brothers and sisters in God.

This Christmas let us remember the infant born out of love, to love. Let us follow in His footsteps during the coming year and beyond.

God bless you and yours this Christmas season!

GCFA Quadrennial Training

Training

The GCFA Quadrennial Training Event in Jacksonville, Florida has just finished. What an exciting time it was for United Methodists to come together for a shared purpose. Getting to know one another is as important as getting to all the plenary sessions. Hopefully the relationships formed will last a life time and give all another person who is going through some of the same situations in their conference and possibly someone to reach out to for help, advice or a listening ear.

The governing of a church takes all of us not just “leaders.” We rise and fall together as congregations of believers.

Laity along with bishops, clergy and lay servants all play a role in the coming of God’s kingdom here on earth. Jesus is our example. Let us then be like Jesus and…

“… love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (CEB)

In fact, let us love our neighbors and ourselves like God loves us, wholly and with grace and righteousness.

Administration – A Ministry of Support

Administration

We seem to be in a time when “administration” is a bad word.  I hear too many pastors and laity who speak of “administration” as if it is a necessary evil at best, or at worst as if it gets in the way of “real ministry.”

The Ministry of Administration

The truth is that “administration” — when rightly understood — is actual ministry. It also provides the means, tools, resources, and planning to make ministry more effective.  Our ordained Elders should know this, in particular, because part of our vows for ordination include the promise to “order” the life of the church.  The Apostle Paul lists “administration” is one of the roles that God has placed within the Body of Christ to enhance ministry (I Corinthians 12:28).  And it is simply common sense that “administer” means “to or toward ministry.”

Read more