As a result of the elections of what many consider an unqualified bishop in the Western Jurisdiction there have been questions concerning the best way to financially support a local United Methodist Church without supporting the Annual Conference and Jurisdiction leadership.
Each local church pays an ’apportionment’, or ‘mission shares’ to the Annual Conference. The apportioned amount is a percentage of the dollar amount spent by the local church on defined expenses. Here is a .pdf on the specific apportionment calculations.
Apportioned money sent to the Annual Conference by each church (will vary depending on the conference):
- 39.3% – conference office support including staff
- 24.3% – support of the bishop, including staff
- 4.5% – retiree health insurance
- 9.6% – ministerial education
- 3.9% – miscellaneous expenses
- 15.8% – charitable contributions
- 2.6% – new faith communities
There are several ways to limit funding to the Annual Conference:
- Place all apportionment payments to the Annual Conference in an escrow account to be held for payment until such time as the bishop and conference leadership conform to the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline as written.
- Determine the percentage of the church general fund that goes to the apportionment payment. Allow church members to specify on their donation ‘for local church only’. Reduce the amount of apportionment by the percentage of money specified ‘for local church only’.
- Rather than make a tithe, or general donation, to the church, make a specific, or targeted, donation.
- Gifts that are targeted, or specifically identified, for purchasing something that the church needs but cannot afford and otherwise would not purchase will not be passed on to the Annual Conference.
- An example might be writing a check to the memorial fund in someone’s memory to replace old worn out hymnals which the church cannot afford to do. This would improve the church without providing extra money which could be used as part of the apportionment payment.
- Another example might be paying for new ceiling tiles to replace stained ones where the church cannot afford it.
- Frequently churches are asked to provide financial support for local or national non-United Methodist groups and agencies but cannot afford the expenditures. Supporting one of these groups is another example of how to help with the local church ministry without providing financial assistance to the Annual Conference.
- Directing money to the outreach programs in the local church, such as providing clothes and supplies for school children or providing holiday food and Christmas presents for local families will extend the church ministry without assisting the Annual Conference.
- Operating expenses such as office expense, expenses for property maintenance and insurance, and utilities for the church are part of the apportionment calculations. If you provide payment for any of those items part of your money will be passed on to the Annual Conference.
- If any money paid to the local church is designated for something the church is planning to purchase, some of that money could possibly end up in the Annual Conference. It is sort of like having a family budget where you have excess money in Item B, but insufficient money in Item A. Therefore, you just move money from B to A and everything is covered.