Sunday, September 23, 2007

Paying Those Apportionments

We Methodist, call them our Apportionments, the portion we pay the church pay to the Conference and to the World Service Fund. Most churches, especially the smaller ones, are struggling to be able to pay their apportionments. But even the bigger churches are nowdays feeling the pinch or bite, whichever you want to call it.

The three churches I served before I came here, could not pay their apportionments. I did not take a pay raise for the last three years I was there, challenging them to pay their apportionments; and use what would have been what they would give me in a raise to put toward it. The smallest church closed my last year there.

The church I am serving now, last year paid 80% of their apportionments, after not paying them for years. This year they will pay 100%. We are celebrating. And now that they have done this, they want to continue to do so.

But there is a but. Just like many of the churches they are facing more people on fixed income with rising medical costs, and more deaths of the older generation who are the givers. We are looking at cutting salaries, slicing jobs, etc.

I am wondering are there some ways, some creative ways you may have found or tried to raise funds in order to pay the apportionments? I think the truth is even if in churches everybody tithed, we would struggle. I think the reality is though that not everybody tithes in churches, and it presents a problem to keep the regular bills paid, the salaries paid, and the apportionments paid. So there seems to be another factor at work here too, what about the tithing? What about using our gifts, graces, and talents in other ways to raise the funds for the church? And what about the larger church, the conference, the boards and agencies? What are their responsibility in this matter? Where are they held accountable for their spending? Their tithing?

I would like to hear your thoughts, ideas, opinions, problem solving on this matter, whether you are Methodist or another denomination.


Iris said...

Hi Rev Abi,

I notice that a bit over 15% of your income goes outside to the denomination in one form or another. One way to work with this (in attitude) is that you are giving them a bit over a tithe.

I think the tithe should continue and that each and every person and organization that receives should tithe and give. Just a personal conviction. However, if we work with that in our hearts the "apportionments" or whatever they are called, are not such a tough pill to swallow. When we teach our people to tithe, then the organization should also, one way or another. You will notice an increase as promised in Scripture (oh I know it is OT but it still works).

Raising money is always tough when working with churches. Tithing is always the best way, even when folk are on fixed income. Interestingly enough, they become "givers" beyond the tithe. It is an amazing thing. Takes a little time...but works. Just some personal thoughts ... no law here ... just thoughts.

Oh yes, just got my Rev.

Rev. Dulce said...

When I arrived at my current church, they hadn't paid their apportionments. I pushed and pushed them to pay, citing the global nature of the church. We had a garage/bake sale that raised $1200 that we sent in directly to the conference office. We have made it an annual event now.

the first year we paid them off in December, it has moved up every subsequent year since. this year we paid them off in July. Hurray!!

mompriest said...

my small church had to make some tough decisions over the last few years: one was to cut our giving to the Diocese, the other was to stop giving anything to the diocese. THis because we have slashed our budget of ALL expenditures that are not do directly related to paying bills and staying alive. I am the only paid staff member. Other than me we pay for our phone, utilities, landscaping (ie mowing 4 acres of lawn, plowing snow) and that's about it....My parishioners give an average of $3000 per family - twice what the average family gives in some of the larger parishes in this diocese. They are committed. But, more than that, most of these folks are no where near tithing...I am one of the few members who tithe...yeah, me, the only paid employee....

so imagine what would happen if they could or would tithe - whether in my little church or the big ones....there are way too many pulls on our income these days...

mid-life rookie said...

Like Rev. Dulce, our church started by having a special fundraiser for paying apportionments. It was a big auction. Finally, apportionments got put into the budget, but other budget items got cut. We still have the auction, but it supports other budget type items(this year youth). It seems easier to raise the extra money for the in-house expenses through extra fundraisers than to raise apportionments that way. Some churches have asked for sponsors for particular line items ie. the electric bill.

DannyG said...

Here is an idea. As you have many older parishoners you could see if the youth could declutter for them, and take the items from the attics/garages/etc and sell them at a garage sale or auction. This would be both a service project and a fundraiser.

david said...

Here's an idea. Quadruple the size of your worship attendance over the next four years. People that come to church bring their money with them if they are committed to the ministry.