Church budget focuses on 4 areas


By United Methodist News Service

The United Methodist Church is facing the “very hard, very painful” work of cutting ministries and shifting resources while building its denominational budget around four newly named areas of focus. After months of reviewing a proposed budget that does not keep pace with inflation, the chief executives of the denomination’s program agencies pledged to preserve ministries that address those four areas — leadership development, congregational growth, global health and poverty.  

However, programs and ministries outside those initiatives will be reviewed for possible adjustments and cuts if the church’s top legislative assembly approves the $642 million four-year spending plan next spring, the executives said. The General Conference, which meets every four years, will gather in Fort Worth, Texas. Agency leaders reported on their budget work Sept. 7 during a joint meeting of the Connectional Table and the governing board of the General Council on Finance and Administration, the two leadership entities that voted in May to send the spending proposal to General Conference.  

“The agencies have worked very hard to protect the monies allocated for these major cooperative initiatives,” said the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, chief executive for the Board of Discipleship. If General Conference approves the spending plan as proposed, “we will be about the hard work of making very specific internal adjustments.”