Connectional Giving

As a pastor, I have heard many people’s opinion on Connectional Giving (apportionments) within the United Methodist Church.  (For those who are not UM, we are a “connectional” church, which means that all of our churches are connected under the banner of the District that the church resides in.  The District is part of the Conference and the Conference is part of the General church.)  The opinions have ranged from being unfair and to a tax on local churches.  I believe that some of these opinions are formed due to not having an understanding about what Connectional giving actually entails.

As a pastor, I believe that ONE of the signs of spiritual maturity is giving of one’s resources (money, time, resources) to God.  It is Biblical that as disciples we give at least 10% of our earnings back to God.  Is this because God needs our money?  NO!  It’s because money can so easily become lord of our lives and God’s desire is to be first in our life, not our money.  I believe Connectional Giving is one of the signs of spiritual maturity in the life of a church.  It’s a way for us to give back to God a portion of the blessings He has given to us.  That reason alone should be reason enough for all UM churches to strive for 100% connectional giving.  However, I want to (over the next several weeks) share with my readers how what we give is used.

One of the ways that our givings are used is to fund the Ministerial Education Fund (MEF).  The MEF is used to help people who are called to go into the pastoral ministry fund their seminary education.  In my own career as a minister I can tell you that there would have been no way for me to go to seminary without MEF.  Not only was I able to go, I was able to graduate with next to no student loans.  Praise God and thanks to all the churches who paid their apportionments.  I owe a great deal of my seminary education to them.

Categories: Church, Leadership | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Connectional Giving

  1. The UM Doc

    Very nice, touching account of the MEF.

    However, there are serious issues related to apportionments that need to be addressed. First, Annual Conference have not adequately developed new churches, have declining membership yet grew their overall Conference structure in the 1970s-1990s. Second, the leftist political leanings of the General Church have continued to alienate many givers. We look to much like a pawn of the Democratic Party on a general level.

    • Thanks UM Doc for responding. I agree that there are serious issues related to apportionments that need to be addressed. I would love to discuss that more in depth with you but that is not the reason for the writing of this particular blog. I wish to celebrate the good and the building of the Kingdom that is done through our connectional giving. I will also be the first to say that our church has not always been the best stewards of its resources. That’s a fact and it needs to be discussed, debated and fixed.

      However, I must ask the question of why and who does one give to? I personally view my own offerings/tithe as my returning to God what already belongs to God. I know that it is used to pay the rent, light bill, salaries, and most importantly to fund ministries but I view it much more on a personal level as my offering to God. I ask that question to those who have informed me that they don’t like ____________ and so they are going to withhold their money. Who is the Lord in that relationship? God or money? Are they going to blackmail God because they don’t agree with something?

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for standing up against something that you don’t agree with but do you really want to do by withholding your offerings? I don’t.

      I view our apportionment system as the local church giving back to God. How can we teach our congregants about the blessings of giving if we don’t do it as a church? I don’t believe we can and I think it makes us hypocritical to try.

      • Donnie

        Because some of us feel the UMC is not using our money for God. That they are misusing His name to use our money for things we find distasteful. That is why I’d rather give money directly to missionaries than to the church. That way you can give money for the good of God and not worrying that it’s being wasted on supporting Nancy Pelosi’s latest pet project.

      • Donnie

        And I would like to add that it is great some of our apportionment money goes to legit things. The MEF sounds like a great cause and a worthy use of church money. But some of the more egregious things is enough to turn me off to the idea completely. And I know I’m not alone.

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « John Hill's Blog

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