What are we to do?

I am in a quandry, and these days the place to play out a quandry is online, so feel free to help me.

Our Conference, the Central Texas Conference, is facing a budget crisis. As we prepare for a 2007 budget to be presented at Annual Conference in June, the trend seems to be to raise the budget again.

I know there are a lot of worthy programs. Things are being planned that will bring with them the opportunity to change people’s lives and build the Kingdom.

So, here is my quandry: it seems abundantly clear to me that the trend for receipts is down while the trend for spending is up. Unlike the US Government, the Central Texas Conference cannot merely make more money. Something has to give.

Since we are being overrun with oportunities for Stewardship training, the message from “on high” is clear: churches need to suck it up and give more.

On the other hand, CTC Churches already commit between 15 and 20% of their budgets to apportionments, and some think that is more than enough.

Please, please, help me. What are we to do?

5 thoughts on “What are we to do?

  1. Believe me, I think about doing exactly that every once in a while. Here’s what keeps me from following through:
    1) I went to a seminary that is still too often accused of training UM pastors to be mavericks and lone rangers. On the contrary, we were trained to work within and be part of the denominational system.
    2) I understand part of my call to ministry as being active in, even if only as a pestering gnat, the “system.”
    I can not let someone else worry about it!

  2. I totally agree with you and I was just kidding about the youth director thing… even though you would be a great one… I think the challenge for someone in your position is “selling” something that you perceive as fundamentally broken. I have absolutely no shame about asking the church to give (I’ve lived my whole life off of the church’s generosity except for those 8 months at Barnes & Noble in college). My only qualifier for that belief though is that I have to really believe in the product I’m selling or pushing. (Sorry for so many business terms… Can’t seem to get that undergrad out of my system). I think you are also correct that fixing a broken system will take some “non-bureacratic” types getting very involved in the system. People like myself have to understand that my own particular aversion to the system only serves to perpetuate the dysfunction…

    Sounds like a good conversation for our emergent forum… although I would prefer sticking to more theological conversation…

  3. WOW!! My church, for the first time EVER, joined the group of churches which could not pay out their apportionments for the 2005 year. As a local church member and a business person, it is so frustrating to me that the Methodist budget just continues to explode. As a business person, watching sales decrease and expenses increase…somewhere in a budget, one has to search for a place or places to reduce expenses. My family lives on a budget. My church lives on a budget. The Central Texas Conference can learn to live on a limited budget, too.

  4. Thanks for sharing that, Teri. I’m beginning to wonder what it will take for the powers-that-be in the conference to understand that. Perhaps it is not enough that every year there are churches that cannot pay their apportionments. Perhaps it must come to the point that there are churches that will not pay them.

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