Just where does my money go?

The figures are in. Last year the people of Holston gave a little better than 90 percent of the money needed to support mission and ministry of the United Methodist Church. I am often asked by many, "Just where does this apportionment money go?"

I'm glad you asked.

I want to thank our conference Treasurer/Administrator Clyde McDonald for providing the following breakdown. He has calculated that for every $100 given in a local church, $86 stays in the local church, $11.19 goes to the annual conference to support equipping us for ministry, and $2.81 goes to support mission and ministry beyond the annual conference.

Oh, and by the way, of the $11.19 that goes to the annual conference, $5.68 ultimately goes back to the local churches for the support of pastors' pensions and health benefits and to equitable compensation for congregations needing help with their pastors' salaries.

A closer look at the $2.81 for the general church reveals that these funds are used to reach the world with the gospel message and help pay for the education of new pastors. These funds also provide educational support for students who attend historically black colleges and universities related to the United Methodist Church (schools that don't receive funds from the denomination's other higher education funds). In addition, general church funds help pay for the education of students at Africa University, provide for our bishops, and support other works within our nine Southeastern states.

Your Fair Share apportionment dollars help us reach others for Christ, assist us in growing in our faith, make our love for others tangible, lift persons thirsting for knowledge to a place where they can drink, help small-membership churches afford full-time pastors, provide hope to those who have lost hope, teach our children, counsel our youth, and continue the spiritual development of adults at all stages of maturity.

I rejoice with you in this accomplishment. But you didn't stop there. Holston, you also gave more than $2 million to victims of the tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We still have no idea how much you gave to these needs through other channels.

So now, you see why my heart rejoices every time someone asks, "Where does my money go?" It makes me proud to be a bishop in a church where money is accounted for, where our funds support those who need help, where churches in covenant relationships support each other, where education is valued, where children and youth are nurtured, where those who gave themselves in service receive care, and where we reach out in ministry to Africa, Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and beyond.

I am proud to be a United Methodist and extremely proud to serve as resident bishop of the Holston Annual Conference. I send out to every layperson and every pastor a great big "thank you" for your faithfulness.


Bishop James Swanson
Resident Bishop

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