Conference Prayerfully and Strategically Reduces Expenses


By Sybil Davidson

Reducing the apportionment budget while maximizing the percentage of expenses used for ministry has long been a priority of the Conference Finance and Administration committee and the Conference Treasurer's Office, and it has been a priority all four years of Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson's tenure in North Georgia. 

Because of the work to align stewardship and mission, the North Georgia Conference is in a position to follow through with plans rather than react to changing economic circumstances. 

The 2020 North Georgia Annual Conference will have the opportunity to make final decisions that put the last pieces into place for the realignment of districts by approving changes to the standing rules (learn more at This effort will save the conference roughly $1 million a year. 

"The restructuring consulting engagement was commissioned by the Council on Finance and Administration, which worked closely with the Bishop and Cabinet on its completion. It turns out that the timing of the restructuring implementation meshes with the challenges created by COVID-19," said Conference Treasurer Keith Cox.

The 2021 recommended Conference budget is decreasing by 19.1% versus the 2020 approved budget. Factoring in anticipated reductions in District Work Fund apportionments (to be determined) will drive that reduction to at least 20% compared to 2020. The 2021 recommended budget is 22.2% less than the 2019 approved budget.

As an additional financial relief to North Georgia Conference churches, the Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits utilized reserves to cover three months of HealthFlex payments (April, May, and June) that would otherwise be paid by the churches. This was a $1.8 million savings to North Georgia Conference churches. Wespath also offered a three-month Comprehensive Protection Plan holiday (May, June, and July). This offered a savings of $600,000 to local churches in our Conference. The total savings from the two initiatives was $2.4 million.

"These are certainly unprecedented times," said Charles Darden, chair of the Conference Board of Pension. "It is for times like these that we have reserves."

In times of hardship, our ministries and our stewardship are benefitting from the strength of our United Methodist connection.  

"None of us are in this wilderness alone," said Bishop Sue. "I thank you for your faithfulness and for your dedication. These aren't just dollars and line items on a page, this is ministry."