The trio of far-right advocacy groups continues to divide Africa like it has the US church. Tom Lambrecht of Good News just insulted the African Bishops saying they only want to stay in the UMC for the money. He claims, “expectations of continuing financial largesse from the general church may be disappointed in the future, due to implementing the proposed 40 percent cut in the denomination’s [UMC’s] budget.” A potential 40% reduction of money in the UMC looks alarming until you do the math for the GMC.
Money is not everything. But money is something. Jesus talks a lot about money because it represents our stewardship capacity and our priorities. We invest in what we care about. We should not fault Bishops for caring about investment in mission and ministry. A clear evaluation of the stewardship capacity and priorities of the Global Methodist Church shows it has already moved on from caring about and investing in Africa, the Philippines, and Europe.
Here is the Math:
- The 2018, pre-Covid general budget for the United Methodist Church was $134,000,000 per year.
- 99.4% of this money, or $133,196,00, came from 31,000 US Churches.
- 6,100 churches have disaffiliated from the UMC.
- 3,000 have joined the Global Methodist Church.
- Let’s be generous and say the Global Methodist Church ends up with 4,500 churches or about 15% of the 2018 UMC.
- Let’s also be generous and assume those GMC churches correlate in size and wealth to the UMC. (Not likely as many of the larger churches are going independent.)
- If they kept the UMC apportionment formula, then 15% of $133,196,000 would give the GMC a general budget of $19,979,400.
- However, the GMC has publicly stated “The goal is to reduce such funding by 50 percent.” (See link to article below.)
- 50% of $19,979,400 is $9,989,700 general budget available for the Global Methodist Church.
- The GMC will represent about 15% of the people and about 7% of the money from the UMC.
More Math. Add up the GMC structure:
- No General Episcopal Fund—Every annual conference pays its own Bishop.
- No General Board of Global Ministries—To vet missions.
- No General United Methodist Committee on Relief—To fund emergencies.
- No General Board of Higher Education—To support schools.
- They have abandoned a Wesleyan connectional polity for a congregationalist structure focused on the US local churches. (See link to article below
- Those choosing whether to join the GMC or to stay UMC should evaluate the commitment of each church to connectional ministry and their capacity to deliver on promises made.
- The Global Methodist Church has invited Africa to be a full partner at a ceremonial table.
- It is not clear how becoming GMC is different from becoming an autonomous Methodist.
- It remains to be seen if “thoughts and prayers” can replace direct investment.
Mainstream UMC will continue to call out the division and misdirection of the far-right. Those groups are only interested in further dividing the church, which is easy. Multiplying the future church is hard. Mainstream UMC is committed to the hard work of a regional structure to stay in mission and ministry together with Africa, the Philippines, and Europe. The partnership must go both ways. Mainstream UMC is also clear that the US church needs the regional autonomy to remove the harmful language targeting our LGBTQ siblings in the Book of Discipline. Regionalization requires a 2/3 vote at General Conference and a 2/3 vote for ratification across annual conferences. We will not reach these goals with division. We must multiply the consensus with our global partners to work together for the future church.
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Rev. Dr. Mark Holland
Executive Director, Mainstream UMC
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Correction: A previous article stated that the GMC churches hire their own pastors. That was originally true, but in April of 2022, they updated their provisional Book of Discipline to reflect an appointment system by the Bishops very similar to the UMC. In one place on the GMC website, they say combined annual conference and general apportionments are no more than 3% of church budgets. In another place, they say they will be 6.5%. Either reflects at least a 50% reduction in general apportionments from UMC levels. You can read the updated version of the previous article here: https://mainstreamumc.com/blog/me-south-rises-again/
Read Tom Lambrecht’s update on their latest efforts to divide Africa by insulting the Bishops:
Here are some resources about UMC Money: https://mainstreamumc.com/resources/
The GMC articles below conflict a bit in the percentage. One says 1.5%, the other says 1% of local church budgets going to the global church. It is notable, one article boasts that one church is paying 27% of its previous apportionment. With that level of payout, the GMC numbers above will plummet 50% further.
Read how the GMC wants to focus funding on the US local churches.
Read about how the GMC anticipates US local churches paying less than half what they pay now for global ministries.