Data helps answer key questions


By David Stotts
Finance and Administration

When Scott Brewer of the General Council on Finance and Administration introduced himself at a meeting, he stated that his role for the general church was to count United Methodists. While his role is larger than that, it is a good beginning explanation of why we complete the statistical tables in January of each year. 

I am happy to announce the addition of a page on our website that presents the data collected over the past five years. You will find that page at under the finance and administration drop down menu.

You may be asking why this is important. You may be saying this is just another number thing David has done. Well, it is important because many people need to access the data collected in the statistical reports each year to answer questions such as:

• “How does my church compare in membership with the other churches in my district or in the conference?”

•“How does our payout of apportionments compare to churches about our size?”

• “How many professions of faith are made in churches with average attendance of 100 or fewer?” 

And some folks even ask why we bother to collect the statistical data each year. They say, “No one uses it.” While not everyone uses it, many people want to know certain things. That is why we have the new page on the website. Take time to go to it and see what is available. An example of a question is there to help you see the usefulness of the tables.

Anyone who works with Excel can help you answer your questions. Now you see why the collection of accurate data each January is so important. It should also be noted that the data is used by the general church as well as the jurisdiction and conference to compute the apportionments for each conference and local church.

Thanks to all of the senior pastors of the local churches, district statisticians, David Greer (conference statistician) and Hayley Smith of the conference office for their diligent work that makes this data possible and available to you.

We hope you enjoy using this new tool. If you think of improvements to this page, e-mail and we will study your suggestions.

Stotts is director of finance and administration for the Mississippi Conference. Contact him at 601-354-0515 or 866-647-7486.