Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

UMC General Conference

This is written for everyone, but especially with my United Methodist Church friends in mind.

Having spent many years of my adult life in the Methodist church and a great deal of time working with Methodist churches over the past 20 years, I have my attention on General Conference at the end of February 2019.  The decisions made during this session are going to have an effect on all Methodist churches regardless of what is decided. There will be some people in all Methodist churches across America that will not be satisfied with the outcome of the decisions.  

The purpose of my writing this is definitely not to talk about the vote and how I feel about it, but to ask UMC pastors and lay leaders the question:

“What are you doing to prepare for the potential fallout from the special session as it pertains to the funding of the day to day ministries at your local church?”

Regardless of the outcome, on February 27th, the day-to-day mission and ministry of the thousands of United Methodist Churches around the world must continue and it takes financial resources to fuel those missions and ministries.  So, what are you doing this month to prepare and what is your strategy after the vote?

Will the outcome of the vote affect the strategy after the vote? Yes.
Should you wait until then to begin planning? NO!

Here’s what I would suggest you do in February leading up to the vote:

  1. Teach/Preach on the Vision and Mission of the catholic church and more specifically your local church.  
    • Who has God called your church to be in your community?  
    • How is your church making an impact in your community and around the world?
      • Give specific illustrations
      • Thank people for their generosity to help fuel these life changing opportunities.
  2. Utilize the offering moment to celebrate generosity and to thank people for their giving.  
    • Connect the dots between financial generosity and life change.  
      • Show people the ROI on their financial giving to the church they call home
  3. Consider having one on one conversations with your top givers.
    • This type of suggestion always raises eyebrows and causes people a little discomfort and indigestion because we do not want to show favoritism.  I am not going to try and talk you into this in an email, but I would encourage you to consider this.
    • Your top givers are some of the most invested people you have in your church.  They care at a very high level and they will care at a very high level about the General Conference vote.
    • It would be in your best interests to know where they stand and how they might respond to the vote regardless of which way it goes.
      • Whether we like it or not, the larger givers have a significant impact on the budget of a church.  Whether they leave or stay at the church will have a financial impact.
      • You are not having these conversations to convince them that their opinion on the subject is right or wrong; as a leader you need to know where they stand.
      • Where they stand should not impact how you lead the church after the vote, but it definitely could help you financially plan for after the vote.
    • If you are in the middle of a giving phase for a capital campaign or One Fund initiative, talking to your major givers is even more paramount for the obvious reasons.
      • If they choose to leave your church that will impact your operating budget and the campaign/generosity initiative.
    • You need to be prepared.
      • Being prepared is one of the greatest characteristics of a great leader.  You do not want to be caught off guard by how the results later this month might financially impact the mission and ministry of the church you lead.

I hope this helps and challenges you to be proactive regarding how the results of General Conference might affect you and the finances of the church you are leading.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you in real time.  Let me hear from you. Call me at 404-435-5755 or email me at alan@generis.com and let’s get a Zoom call on the calendar.

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