This summer I was teaching adjunct for Dakota Wesleyan University. The class was Financial Analysis and was part of the MBA program. My hope was that participants would be equipped to analyze the financial impact of a decision before they pull the trigger. After teaching the class for the second time, it occurred to me that this is very applicable to churches making a decision on whether to stay in the United Methodist denomination or join the Global Methodist denomination.
I probably need to make a quick comment. You should not make a decision on which denomination based purely on the finances anymore than you should make a decision to have kids or get married based purely on the finances. But…you should still consider the financial impact so you can be prepared.
In the video, I go over the costs I know of: disaffiliation costs, apportionments, and cost of clergy benefits. I treat it somewhat like the decision is an investment decision using some tools from the Financial Analysis class. Long story short, for a Dakotas UMC church, disaffiliating would seem like a really good financial decision. Most will recover their disaffiliation costs in 2-5 years. Again, this is not primarily a financial decision, and I try to focus on only costs I know of. Here’s a couple things I don’t know:
- The Follow-Through of Each Denomination: Each denomination has clearly stated their intent to lower costs or keep costs low, but leadership and circumstances will change. If low costs compete with maintaining or expanding staff, which will win?
- The Impact on Giving: It is likely in the short term that churches will see a drop in giving if they recommit to the UMC or commit to the GMC. Some people will be unhappy and pull back. I really hope that churches can mourn these losses, but then move forward with a renewed focus and passion for their mission. This would then result in new people and increased giving.
As a cheap accountant, I tend to focus on the cost, but the benefits are also important. In the next post, I plan on going over the benefits.
- Post of Cost of Disaffiliating: https://jctaccounting.com/2022/06/17/estimating-cost-of-disaffiliation/
- Post on UMC Apportionments: https://jctaccounting.com/2022/01/21/understanding-united-methodist-apportionments/
- Post on UMC Health Benefits: https://jctaccounting.com/2022/01/28/understanding-the-united-methodist-health-plan/
- Post on UMC Pension Benefits: https://jctaccounting.com/2022/01/14/understanding-the-united-methodist-pension-plan/
- Compass (future UMC Pension Plan): https://www.wespath.org/assets/1/7/5447.pdf
- GMC Apportionments: https://globalmethodist.org/connectional-funding-in-the-global-methodist-church/
- GMC Apportionments in Transition Period: https://globalmethodist.org/preparing-the-way-baptisms-connectional-funding-and-benefits/
- GMC Health Benefits: https://globalmethodist.org/faqs/#1653420860221-cf1de599-8c5a
- GMC Pension Benefits: https://globalmethodist.org/faqs/#1653420694960-f5145d9a-665d