Connecting through generous giving, United Methodists change lives

For three years, Hilary Taylor served as a commissioned Mission Intern (now Global Mission Fellows) with the General Board of Global Ministries. Of her intern experiences, she said, "Global Ministries has shaped me in ways I never would have imagined, allowing me to wrestle with the church, Christian mission and, most importantly, myself."

Before Banyam Theological Seminary in Nigeria received funds for solar electricity, seminarian Wala Zubairu could only study a few hours at night. A new power system lets him "read as long as I wish. My semester grade was 'B' but after the installation of the solar system, my grade has been up. … I became an 'A' grader."

Epworth United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is "an intentionally multicultural, multilingual community," says the Rev. Jennifer Fenner, pastor, with weekly services in English and Spanish. Aiding the transition from being a predominantly white church was a CORR Action Fund grant.

Young people engage in Bible study during the United Methodist Seminar Program on National/International Affairs sponsored by the General Board of Church and Society. General Board of Church and Society.

United Methodist are a very generous people. In 2014, they gave more than $135 million to support denominational ministries. Another $373 million went to church-related and other benevolent causes, such as soup kitchens and clothing drives. Church members responded to national and international disasters with $28 million.

The next time you place your gift in your church's offering plate – or approve an on-line donation – consider the far-reaching effects of this simple – but generous – act. 

The lion's share of the offerings – 85 cents of every dollar – provides local church ministry and mission. The other 15 cents supports connectional giving, illustrating the power and positive effects of people connecting with their offerings – accomplishing what no single church, district or annual conference could do alone.

Of those 15 cents, two cents support denominational apportionments. Taylor, Zubairu and Fenner represent the millions who experience the programs, staff and other resources provided through United Methodism's seven apportioned funds. That's what the $135 million supported, says the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA).

Another seven cents support mission and ministry through districts, annual conferences and jurisdictions. Six cents goes toward Special Sunday offerings, World Service Special gifts and The Advance.

Carson Jones attends summer conferences of Native Americans at the United Methodist Center at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. In recent years, his daughter has joined him, a member of the Lumbee tribe. [I like] "being with the different people and my daughter meeting other children like us. I believe it helps her self-esteem to sing and play and do crafts with other children," says Jones.

Offerings from the Native American Ministries Sunday stay in annual conferences to assist Native American congregations, ministries and communities in rural, urban and reservation settings.

The gathering that draws Jones and his daughter to Lake Junaluska is among the ministries receiving support and provides financial assistance for some participants.

Daphine Locklear Strickland, Administrative Council chair at Triad United Methodist Church where the family attends, says, "To the average person, this might seem like a small thing, but Carson and his daughter look forward to this conference as the only vacation time they have to celebrate with other Native Americans from all over the Southeastern Jurisdiction."

Cindy Solomon, marketing consultant and content writer living in Franklin, Tennessee. Parts of this story were adapted from articles from the Global Ministries website, www.umcmission.org, and by UMNS writer Sam Hodges; Priscilla Muzerengwa, Zimbabwe West communicator; Sophia Agtarap, freelance writer for Interpreter; and "The Revival of Stewardship and the Creation of the World Service Commission."

United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about giving click here.