Generous Giving: North Georgia United Methodists Pay Apportionments
By Ansley Brackin
Communications Specialist for North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church
North Georgia United Methodist Churches are getting down to business in terms of apportionments.
Rev. Dr. Walter Kimbrough proudly delivered Columbia Drive UMC’s fulfilled 2014 apportionments to the treasurer’s office on January 9th, making them the first congregation to make this year’s payment in full.
For a number of years, the church struggled to pay their apportionments in full and was later monetarily unable to hire a full time pastor. Dr. Kimbrough came out of retirement in 2012 to accept a part time pastor position at the struggling Columbia Drive UMC.
“I don’t understand part time,” says Dr. Kimbrough, “there’s a lot of work to be done”.
Thriving on the belief that the United Methodist Church is a “connectional church” where everyone commits to their fair share, Columbia Drive’s new pastor pledged a goal to always complete 100 percent of their apportionments.
In 2013, Dr. Kimbrough was proud to learn that they succeeded in completing their apportionments months before the end of the year. However, they just missed being the first church to pay 100 perenct. Another retired pastor who Dr. Kimbrough attended high school with in Atlanta was the first to deliver payments in full that year.
Since it was proven that Columbia Drive could fully pay their apportionments, the goal was set. Paying first was essential, so their 2014 apportionments were turned in on the first day of business in the 2014 budget year.
“People need to feel good about who they are and feel accomplished,” explains Dr. Kimbrough. “It was not a big to-do. It was just an act of moving forward.”
Being ahead of the game places the church in a new perspective as they already begin to commit to the apportionments of 2015.
Columbia Drive UMC has now gone from “a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of plenty,” in the words of their pastor.
County Line UMC of Acworth celebrated paying 100 percent of their apportionments deliciously with cake.
Rev. Scott Pickering says there are two things that helped County Line UMC achieve 100 percent payment of their apportionments.
“We shifted our focus away from trying to figure out how we were going to pay all the bills to how can we offer more help to those in need,” explains Pickering. “I personally believe that a church that is reaching out to those in need does not need to worry about money issues.”
They also began to commit to 100 percent for 2012 though they were unsure of how they could accomplish it. Despite having missed the mark in the first try, they overcame on their second try.
2013 is the first year that County Line has been about to pay 100 percent since 2003.
Oak Grove UMC has always strived to help their neighboring congregations. They regularly support other churches' ministry projects.
In 2013, they took on a little extra in apportionments in order to assist fellow churches in the Atlanta Emory District. Not only did they assist in others’ Fair Share Mission Asking, but the congregation also lent help in District Work Fund for struggling churches.
“Oak Grove had a particularly good year,” explains Senior Pastor, Rev. Glenn Ethridge, “and we knew of some smaller churches in our area who had worked hard, made good decisions, but just hadn’t been able to get all of their ministry completed.”
Oak Grove wished to “share in making 2013 a success for them.”
“This is a true sign not only of generosity,“ says Atlanta Emory District Superintendent, Dana Everhart, “but of the connection; one church helping another.”
In 2013, 93 percent of apportionments were paid in the North Georgia Conference, a small increase from 2012.
See the full list of churches that paid 100 percent in 2013 HERE
How is your congregation taking on apportionments this year? How has your church helped fellow congregations in financial need?