The Cost of Disaffiliating from the UMC

Back in 2019, the United Methodist denomination approved a process for churches to leave the denomination (i.e. disaffiliate). The process is kind of expenses and onerous. Part of my hope was that we’d never have to use this process as the General Conference was scheduled to meet in May of 2020. Well, a lot of things didn’t happen as scheduled in 2020. Now the General Conference is scheduled to meet in September of 2022. The longer this gets put off, the more churches are seriously considering going through the disaffiliation process.

I realize that even by bringing up this subject some will be mad at me so maybe I need some disclaimers. I’m going to make a prediction. I will get some nasty comment when I post this on Facebook from someone that didn’t even bother to click on the link.

  • I don’t want churches to disaffiliate. I want them to wait for General Conference. I’m hoping when they see the cost, they’ll be more willing to wait a year.
  • I don’t hate churches looking into disaffiliation. This is a tough decision. The picture I use is of Dickinson Prairie Winds which disaffiliated recently. I’m sad they didn’t wait and am concerned about them being independent. I also understand their frustration/disappointment with the denomination. I still really want to see them succeed…most days.
  • I’m trying to honor both the church and the denomination. I’m not picking sides in the process. I’m trying to respect the process and not make it easier or more difficult than need be.

For more on the actual process, I put a link down below. I go further into the details in the video, but there are basically four costs to disaffiliating. These need to be paid in full before the church can disaffiliate. Here they are:

  1. Current Bills: You need to be current on Apportionments, Health Insurance & Pension Direct Bills, and any Salary Withholdings.
  2. One Year of Apportionments: We’ll estimate what an additional year of apportionments would be.
  3. Share of Pension Liability: Since the liability is based primarily on Years of Service, that’s how we allocate the Pension Liability. Of the total years of service, how many are directly tied to your church. This method of allocation is peculiar to the Dakotas. Most other conferences look at the billing history.
  4. Value of Property: The Dakotas chose 10% of the value of the property. Part of our hope is that this could be reinvested into new churches to replace the ones leaving.
Duration: 10 minutes

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