By Randy Bowman, Conference Treasurer
I recently read the book, “The Art of Possibility,” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. One chapter discussed how Mr. Zander gave every one of his class members an “A” grade at the beginning of one semester. All they had to do was write down all they would accomplish during the semester and how they would change the world in their own way. The actual objective accomplishments varied, but this practice resulted in consistently great efforts that earned the “A” grades.
This “A” effort came to mind as I recently compiled the 2017 statistical table data for the churches in our Conference and sent them off to the general church. Although we continued our long, gradual decline in membership, attendance, local church income, and local church expenditures, I became convinced that all of our churches could write the story of their own “A” effort. And while I don’t have room to lift up all of those stories, I do want to offer a few amazing accomplishments reflected in the statistics of the churches in our great Conference:
- A Grain of Mustard Seed UMF had 39 professions of faith last year.
- Dayspring UMC experienced an increase in average attendance of 46 people per week (+9%).
- Desert Mission UMC’s membership went up by 19 persons (+11%).
- Desert Spring UMC had 18 baptisms in 2017.
- First UMC of Winslow’s membership increased by 13 people (+57%).
- First UMC of Sun City saw the giving to their operating budget go up 9% from 2016.
- Gold Canyon UMC had 40 professions of faith and a 27% increase in giving to their budget.
- St. Mark’s UMC blessed the world with 17 baptisms last year.
- The Fountains UMC’s ministries were enhanced through a 10% increase in giving.
What the above numbers represent, the stories of lives changed through apportionments and our connectional church, are really what is important. Not the numbers themselves. But for those who want a few more numbers, here you go.
Our year-to-date apportionment contributions through April are shown in the following graph:
For the first 4 months of 2018, our churches contributed 27.9% of their apportionments. As you can see from the detailed report, this was 1.4% above last year and 1.2% above our average apportionment contributions through April for the last ten years. At this early date, we project an overall year-end apportionment contribution percentage of about 90% if we can keep up our “A” effort!
Remember that apportionments are a way to look beyond just ourselves. Please do all that you can to help our churches and our ministries continue to change lives by contributing apportionments as fully as possible in the last 8 months of 2018.
Thank you all for your commitment; it truly provides the financial stability for our connectional programs to work.