2020 Statistical Reporting Process

12/14/2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2020

The turning of the New Year means the statistical reporting process is at hand. We will be using the EZRA system provided by the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) that we used in 2019 possibly for the last time. I think you will find the EZRA system very user friendly and is relatively easy to navigate. The link for reporting the 2020 statistics will be on the conference website and will be available at 1:00 a.m. January 1, 2021, and will close at 11:00 p.m. on January 28, 2021. All reports must be in by that deadline. Any statistical reports not completed by that closing date will be reported as not timely filed to the bishop and the cabinet.
 
***Please note there is some added information regarding roll reconciliation and the CARES Act PPP loans below the instructions.
 
You may click here to find a Church Guide for Ezra: Statistics prepared by the General Council on Finance and Administration.

Instructions For Local Church

The log in will be on the conference website beginning January 1, 2021. The user names and passwords have been reset. You will use your six-digit GCFA number for your username. This number can be found on your mission shares statement. The first time that you log in, you will use MS2020 as the password. You will then be prompted to change your password.
 
The new password that you create must be six characters in length. We highly suggest that you use the four-digit local church number (five-digit if you are in the Tupelo or West Jackson Districts) proceeded by two zeroes (one if you are in the Tupelo or West Jackson Districts).
 
The form will be the same as the 2019 statistical form. Instructions for each line can be found by hovering over the question mark. Line 1 is entered for you and this number CANNOT be changed. Lines 4, 5 and 6 automatically calculate. Be sure that you verify that line 4 is correct and agrees with your membership roll by double checking lines 1 through 3. Additionally, the total on line 4 should equal the total of 5 and the total of line 6. Line 7a is for those who stream their worship online. TV and radio are not included as actual audience size cannot be measured with certainty.

Lines 41a through 47 are the line items used to calculate your conference mission shares for 2019. Please note that 41a-42c offers a breakdown for each clergy. This allows each clergy to have their compensation separated for audit purposes. Please be certain that these entries are thoroughly checked. You may be asked if the lines are correct multiple times by your district statistician, your conference statistician and by the conference treasurer.
 
Please be sure to complete Table Three. This table simply reports the funding sources for the ministries in the previous two tables. They are not tied in any fashion to the amount of mission shares you will pay. The table merely illustrates the total picture of the spiritual journey of the church and how the ministries are funded. Each local church sets a budget every year. That budget is dependent on a funding source. All that is reported in Table three is where God provided funds for the ministries of your local church budget.

***Important Issues for 2020 Stats Reporting

  1. The conference is asking churches to do some vital work regarding reconciling their rolls and statistical reports so that members are cared for in the cases of closure or disaffiliation. There is a step-by-step roll reconciliation with church stats guide and a reconciliation sheet to help in this process. This process will include names and addresses of the membership both active and inactive. Please contact your district office for more information. You can also request a copy from your conference statistician at rwilburn62285@gmail.com.
  2. The CARES Act PPP loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) should be recorded as other grants on line 52g of Table Three. If you have been forgiven for payment, do not record them anywhere else. If you have not received the forgiveness notice from your banker, then record them as payable in Table Two on line 27.

In Closing,

The statistics you report are not merely numbers but they are a record of activity of Christian people fulfilling the ministry of Christ in the local church. It is the only real snapshot we get of the church in any form or fashion. Please take this endeavor seriously. 

I would like to thank the staff of district statisticians, district secretaries, district superintendents, David Stotts and Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. for their assistance in gathering this data. Also, a special thank you to our pastors, laity and staff for your cooperation and faithfulness. I look forward to speaking with many of you and hearing your glory sightings in your stories and seeing them in your numbers. You can contact Rex by calling or texting 662.983.0574 or sending an email to rwilburn62285@gmail.com or confstat@mississippi-umc.org.
 
Peace and joy and love,

Rex Wilburn
Conference Statistician
aka “The Grinch”

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