First United Methodist Church of Tampa may be about to close.
We close churches every year. That’s really not news. There is more to the story.
FUMC-Tampa averages about 50 in worship and pays all of its bills on time. They’ve also recently come into some money. The TBO article explains more; suffice it to say that in addition to other money, the church is set to receive $200,000 a year. in interest payments.
The Florida Conference is set to vote tomorrow on closure of this church, in which case the money goes to the Florida South Central District, which, according to the article, has “as yet undetermined” plans for the money.
Of course, the Florida Conference has numbers supporting the closure of FUMC-Tampa. The South Central District even lets you and me (and anyone with internet connection) check out the “Missional Vital Signs” for this congregation. Numbers don’t lie! Our (The UMC’s) current leadership is all about numerical data to prove or disprove ministry is taking place.
I’m just wondering how those numbers stack up against the $200K a year.
And I cannot help but remember Mark Yaconelli’s insight that after 3 years, Jesus’s own numbers were “12 followers, and one of them wanted to kill him.”