MBs consider new model for givingBy Tim Huber Mennonite World Review
Delegates at the U.S. Mennonite Brethren biennial convention — Conection 2012 — July 27-28 in Omaha, Neb., will focus on unity, both in fellowship and finances.
The spelling of Conection is intended to reinforce the USMB mission statement: “We partner as one family to serve one Lord on one mission, for the transformation of individuals, families and communities.”
Delegates will consider a recommendation for a new national ministries funding model. In the current system, USMB requests a minimum of $35 per member from each congregation. Based on 34,791 members, USMB would receive at least $1.2 million. Congregations are actually contributing about $420,000 annually.
“For 30 years these norms worked well for most of our churches,” USMB executive director Ed Boschman told Christian Leader. “But current statistics indicate that only about one-third of our churches support our district and national ministries, and less than that are doing so by utilizing the norms system.”
Boschman noted 95 percent of USMB income comes from 20 percent of the churches.
The proposed new model is based proportionally on a congregation’s budget, rather than membership. The plan would ask each USMB congregation to forward 2.5 percent of its annual income, defined as tithes and offerings received to support the general budget.
Delegates will vote on a recommendation to nationalize the Confession of Faith. The U.S. and Canadian conferences currently share a Confession, unlike other MB conferences around the world that have their own.
A roughly $1 million budget — $170,524 more than the current budget — will be up for approval. The increase includes salaries for two new part-time staff members, increased program costs in development and electronic communication, a 2013 study conference by the Board of Faith and Life and expanded church-planting and renewal projects. USMB hopes to add 60 congregations and 10,000 members in the next 10 years.
Speakers will include Sherwood Baptist Church associate pastor Alex Kendrick of Albany, Ga. He is co-founder of Sherwood Pictures, where he was co-writer and co-director of the films Fireproof and Courageous.
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