2016 conference apportioned giving down slightly

Posted on February 13, 2017

One of the unique and defining factors of the United Methodist Church is that we are connectional. Apportioned giving is a term that describes how the money you give to your church each week is divided and distributed throughout the United Methodist Church at the conference and general church levels. Apportioned giving at the general level increased slightly. The Dakotas Conference saw a slight decrease in apportioned giving at the conference and general church level.

The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), working with the 56 annual conferences in the United States, reports that twenty-seven annual conferences have paid 100% of their 2016 apportionments to the seven general Church funds. The amount collected in 2016 a slight increase over the previous year during which 26 annual conferences reached this milestone. The 2016 payout rate of 91.8% is the highest it has been.

The Dakotas Conference paid 89% of the general church apportionment as of January 31, 2017.

“We still hope to pay in full, but we will be late. Going into December, giving to conference apportionments was ahead of prior years, but we ended up receiving $150,486 less than in 2015. Many of our churches saw weaker than normal giving in December for various reasons. Gifts for 2016 apportionments continue to come in. Final offering for 2016 will help cover some of the difference,” said Jeff Pospisil, who is the Dakotas Conference executive director of finance and administration.

The 27 annual conferences who paid their general church apportionments in full are: Alaska, Baltimore-Washington, Central Texas, Desert Southwest, East Ohio, Eastern Pennsylvania, Great New Jersey, Illinois Great Rivers, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, New England, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Oregon-Idaho, Pacific Northwest, Peninsula-Delaware, Red Bird Missionary, Rocky Mountain, Susquehanna, Tennessee, Upper New York, West Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. 

At the conference level, a total of $3,758,764 was received for 2016 apportionments. This is down $150,486 (3.8%) from 2015. “It is the first year since 2002 that giving to apportionments (excluding pension & health benefits) has decreased. 94.9% of churches gave towards apportionments, which were down from 95.8% in 2015, said Pospisil.  “some our large churches saw their income decrease in 2016. The cabinet is looking into this to see what the reasons for the drop were and if the this is the start of a trend.”

Dakotas Conference apportionment dollars go to:

  • 20%  ministry for young people—Camping is the biggest part, but we also support Dakota Wesleyan, campus ministry, and youth ministry.

  • 22% district superintendents— Funds that supports the ministry of the four district superintendents as well as moving pastors for appointment changes.

  • 18% new church starts and revitalization– Funds to help start new churches and revitalization processes such as Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI) and Journey Renewal.

  • 15% Dakotas Conference missions – Combined with gifts from individuals and churches for the missionary work at Tree of Life, Bakken Oil Rush Outreach, Solar Oven Partners, Spirit Lake, and more.

  •  35% staffing, properties, misc. – Supports staff that runs the above programs or provides administrative support, caring for our various properties, and also a mixed bag of programs such as the Commission on Archives and History, the video conferencing system, and training for lay and clergy leaders.

Global apportionment dollars fund:

  • Bishops

  • General agencies

  • Ministerial education

  • Denomination-wide efforts like the Black College Fund and Africa University in Zimbabwe

  • Global Ecumenical efforts

General Church apportionments continue to rise for the Dakotas Conference. Overall the percentage of local church expenditures given to the general church went down from about 2.27 percent in 2002 to 2.14 percent in 2014. In other words, about 2 cents of every dollar in the offering plate goes toward the general church budget. However, the Dakotas Conference is growing in numbers of worshippers and churches, which increases the amount requested from the General Church.

This graph illustrates the General Church apportioned rates, among the conferences in the North Central Jurisdiction, have increased or decreased since 2011.  The majority have seen a reduction because they are seeing a decline in average worship attendance. The Dakotas Conference is growing and therefore the rate apportioned by the General Church is increasing.