If you have been in the United Methodist Church for a few years, you have probably heard the term “Apportionments” thrown around. Maybe you have wondered what it meant. So, here is some information about what Apportionments are and what they mean to us as United Methodists.
The United Methodist Church is connectional church; each congregation is not independent but connected to each other. Whether they are down the street, across the state, or around the world, we are connected. We share many things, including the ability to fund ministries and missions. Together, we can make a greater impact to relieve suffering, feed the hungry, and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ at home and around the world.
Through our Apportionments, we support 903 missionaries around the world, serving 57 countries. Some are pastors and evangelists, who teach about the Good News and win converts to Jesus Christ and translate the scriptures into the language of the people they serve. Some are physicians, nurses, and caregivers. They are treating those with health problems, establishing hospitals and clinics, and training natives as health care-givers; they restore the body and witness to the “Great Physician” at the same time. Other missionaries are agricultural experts, spending their time teaching the people how to grow crops in greater abundance in regions with so much starvation and malnutrition. In more than 50 countries around the world, our missionary outreach provides meals for 3 million people every year, or over 8,200 people every day. Other missionaries are educators, teaching children, youth, and adults to read and improve their opportunities.
Our 2014 Apportionments:
Oversees missions get a lot of attention, but our Apportionments also benefit ministries not only in our West Ohio Conference, but here in our own Miami Valley District. For example, St. Paul United Methodist Church is located in Dayton. It has a rich tradition of outreach in its neighborhood. Together with the help and support of over other churches, they feed the hungry and reach out to the poor.
More than 10% of our Apportionments stay here in our district. If you want more information, check out the Miami Valley District website.
How Are Apportionments Determined?
Every United Methodist congregation in the United States receives an Apportionment amount based on the financial needs of the global church, our own Annual Conference, and our own district. These three budgets are equitably divided among all the churches, so that each local church shares its part.
Different Annual Conferences calculate the local church apportionment differently, but our West Ohio Annual Conference uses the following formula:
One-third of our apportionment number comes from our membership compared to the Conference membership. So, if in round numbers we had 225 members of the 225,000 total members in West Ohio, then we represent 0.1% of the Conference membership, and therefore 0.1% of the apportionment based on membership.
The other two-thirds of our apportionment number is based upon our expenses compared to the expenses of the rest of the churches in the Conference. These expenses are what we pay for programs, staff, administration, and utilities, etc; apportionment or capital improvement expenditures are not included. Our percentage compared to all the other churches determines this part of our apportionment number.
Our Conference has been using this formula for many years, and I believe it is fair. While membership is part of the equation (and therefore it is important to have accurate membership numbers), our ability to spend money makes up the greater piece of the pie.
We should be very proud to be part of a “connectional church” which has outreach ministries on every continent and in every county of our country, meeting the needs of children, youth, and adults who are precious in the sight of God. It’s all part of Building a Christ Connection.