Now what?

By Jessica Connor

While job security and the overall financial health of the nation seem to be on the upswing, I don't think anyone expected the S.C. Conference to see its best year in apportionments giving since 2003.

After all, the recession nearly crippled many in this state, and economy experts are calling this year's Christmas shopping season the worst since 2008. Most people expected something on par with last year, if we were lucky.

At least, that s what they expected until the money started rolling in.

Church after church was stepping up and paying apportionments “ many for the first time in years. While the majority didn t pay 100 percent, they were paying. And S.C. ministries began to feel hope.

The Advocate s front page screams 87% and we want to take a moment and do a giant leaping back handspring to applaud the way United Methodist churches across the state stepped up and gave, even when it hurt. The Columbia District particularly deserves a huge nod for the way the churches came together at the 11th hour and helped the district reach 100 percent for the first time.

Because of these church members who went the extra mile, South Carolina ministries have more money to do all the good they can, by all the means they can, in all the ways they can, in all the places they can, to all the people they can, as long as they ever can.

Imagine what a campus ministry could do with an extra, unexpected 3 percent “ a fun spring bash to cultivate new Christians into the fold? A funky marketing campus-wide campaign? Help with a mission trip?

Conference Treasurer Tony Prestipino says he expects a 4 percent increase next year, and I like his thinking. Let s visualize success. Let s set a goal and do everything we can to meet it. This isn t corporate America, where the extra dollars line some bigwig s pockets. These are dollars that feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide shelter for the homeless, spread the Good News far and wide. This is priority. This is worth it.

When we expect results, we get them.

So next year at this time, instead of ministries being pleasantly surprised with the extra cash and having to figure out where to use it, let s go into 2013 thinking we have some extra ministry funding “ now what? How can we best put it to use? And how can we plan for a surplus next year, and the year after, and the year after? All for Him.

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