By Jessica Brodie
In this month’s front-page article, “Doing Ministry With Less Money,” we learn South Carolina Conference financial leaders are urging ministries who receive conference funds to take a hard look at their operations and prepare now for leaner times. The Conference Council on Finance and Administration warned that we are in “a new reality” and that we must make do with less given the financial implications of churches leaving The United Methodist Church.
We applaud their foresight and their honesty.
We think Budget Committee Chair the Rev. Wayne Smith spoke plainly and correctly when he reminded ministries CF&A can only give what they receive.
But take heart: If we’re wise, thoughtful and God-led about how we do ministry, we can do this.
See, it’s not about how much money we bring in—it’s about how we let God move through what we have. Jesus showed us the way when he fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish in Matthew 14:13-21.
It’s the same for us today. Yes, our budget as an annual conference is getting smaller. Ten years ago, the 2014 budget was $17.3 million. Now, in 2024, our conference budget is $13.2 million. For 2025, the conference treasurer expects the budget could be $10 million; planning is going on now.
But it doesn’t matter how small the pool is. When God is our lifeguard, we can surely swim. And with the Lord as our guide, directing our swim strokes, our opportunities are infinite.
It’s a good idea for all ministries to reassess their budgets and take a fresh look at how they deliver their mission and ministry through apportioned funds. It allows us to be intelligent and considerate stewards of God’s money, and it enables us to make innovative new choices about Spirit-led ministry.
So don’t despair, friends.
God will make a way. Together, we can do this.