At Annual Conference, the Council on Finance and Administration (CF&A) recommended the delegation approve an annual budget for 2013 that was reduced from the previous year by .42%, amounting to just under $100,000. Rev. Marlin Fenn, senior pastor of First UMC Katy, presented the report for the CF&A and told delegates the council’s goals included trying to align the budget with the goals of the conference’s quadrennial assessment -- while decreasing the total budget in a way that would be helpful to TAC congregations. “As we began to refine the budget, we worked to align ministries with leadership development, young people, and with growing, vital, missional congregations and balance that with budget reductions to help congregations that have been going through rough times with this economy.”
“We are sensitive to the needs of our congregations that have experienced significant financial challenges. To find the funds for new ministries while decreasing the total budget means that some ministries have to be decreased or discontinued,” Fenn continued. “We looked for ministries that perhaps had already served their purpose, or where we felt like ministries could be shifted. It’s not as easy where choices have to be made between good ministries that still have a positive impact, but sometimes those choices are necessary. We found the areas where money could also be provided for new ministries to happen.”
One challenge for the CF&A is starting the work several years before that budget is to be implemented. Center directors are already looking at preliminary 2014 budget numbers now.” When delegates approve at Annual Conference mid-year, the budget is then implemented the following January.
Fenn noted the council worked hard to lower the budget to be able to fund ministries that were in line with the quadrennial assessment.
He added that the annual conference’s apportionment payout dropped to 84.5 percent in 2010 and then was up to 86.1 percent in 2011when it had been up in the low 90’s many previous years. “We felt like that was really a call that we needed to do something with the budget. “
“This is a good conference with a lot of good ministries going on,” Fenn continued. “Churches often see their apportionments kind of like dues to be paid, but really, apportionments fund the mission of touching people’s lives and changing the world. Our churches are doing more ministry and mission beyond their congregations than they are sending to apportionments. The conference received between 19 and 20 million dollars in apportionments last year, but over 22 million dollars went to mission and ministry outside of what we’re doing in the conference. There’s not a lack of generosity, it’s a matter of choice as to where congregations are choosing to put their money. There’s a lot of good work that’s going on and I’m excited for people to find out about it.”