(Note: I’m very grateful for the spirit of the discussion this week. I hope these posts don’t come across as arrogant but as humble suggestions from someone who cares. I acknowledge that my ideas may not be possible — or may not work, but hopefully, they will spur on helpful conversations.)
When I was an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church, our church grew from about 300 people to close to 700 people (which at the time was considered a very large church).
Each Methodist Church paid their share of “apportionments.” Although I’m not certain where the apportionments go, I’m assuming they support UMC missionaries, hospitals, benevolence ministries, district superintendents, bishops, administrative costs, etc.
It was also my understanding (and my UMC friends can correct me if I’m wrong), that the apportionments also helped support smaller churches that couldn’t make it on their own. I firmly believe that UMC churches partnering together is one of the keys to its future! The denomination’s connectedness is a great strength. But heavy apportionments on larger churches could ultimately hurt the whole. I’ll explain.
At FUMC, we paid approximately 17% of our budget to apportionments. (I was told larger churches paid higher perecentages.) This model could prevent strong churches from growing stronger. If the church has more resources to put toward evangelism, church planting, their own ministry passions, and expansion, perhaps the churches could grow larger and more influential.
If the UMC had more growing and visible churches (like Granger Community Church, in Indiana, Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio and Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, Kansas), these churches could help attract new leaders and bring a wave of hope and optimism.