In Craig Groeshel's fourth blog on the United Methodist Church, he tackled our apportionment system. Apportionments are part of the United Methodist Church's connectionalism. Each church gives from their own budget/income to pay for the conference/jurisdictional/global iniatives of the Methodist Church. This money supports ministry on a local, regional and global level. Part of this money also supports the pension fund of the UMC (I believe). I'll be quite honest, I have little grasp on how apportionments are decided. What I do know is that they can have a large impact on both large and small churches. (Read More Below)
This particular blog post by Craig is the one place throughout his series where I thought he show's his preference/bias for larger churches. Larger seems to indicate "more effective." The bottom line is that both small and large churches are affected by apportionments. Having more visable churches like Ginghamsburg or Granger would be exciting- but God moves in small and large churches- so larger churches should be the deciding factor when it comes to apportionments.
So what is? I think we have to consider what our apportionment support. Are our structures in the UMC too bulky and large, therefore costing us more money? Are there ways we can streamline the administrative ends of the church? How are the local annual conferences and jurisdictions "giving back" to the local church in the form of quality training and support?
Are there organizations or causes that local congregations could decide to support or not to support? Certainly, I think we need to provide for our district/conference staff, etc., but if there was an initiative of the denomination that the local church was not comfortable supporting- could that become an elective? I don't know how practical that would be, but it might help churches feel like they have more say in the way their money is being spent.
Again, as United Methodist- we are proud about our connectionalism. Part of our connection is supporting one another and denomination through apportionments. It is one way we care for each other and those who our ministries touch.
For you who have more apportionment experience than me- What are the pros and cons? Is there a better way to quantify how much a church pays without completely bankrupting the district/conference ministries?