Thursday, June 21, 2012

nerdy methodist.

i am a nerd.
and a methodist.
and i like annual conference.
if you don't know what it is... well. its a conference. and its lots of preachers. and delegates. and you hear speakers. and well this AC we have adam hamilton. and he is a great speaker. and we are at lake junaluska so its beautiful. and you see lots of people.
but i digress....

today. i went to a "finance and budget discussion".... two of my least favorite things. but i did it as a favor to a friend. and to write a post for the UMC website. (yea. nerd.)
anyway... to all of you guys who are so interested in this i decided to post here. enjoy.


Holy budgeting.

While others of you were gathering under the beautiful trees sharing stories, or nestled in a rocking chair reading one of Adam Hamilton’s best sellers, I was able to take part in the finance and budget discussion here in the auditorium. To say I know anything about finance would be an overstatement. I am clueless- but luckily I came away with a few key items that I think would be helpful for all of us to know.
First on everyone’s mind may be how the decrease in districts will affect the budget. Overtime the budget will decrease because of it, but in this first year there are just too many uncertainties to see a big change. There is an allotted contingency fund that is higher than years past, to be used as we figure out this transition. One other increase that can be seen in is the information technology line. As our district superintendents transition to a more “mobile” position, hopefully being on the road 4 days a week, having up-to-date technology will be vital for success. This will also allow for the conference to transition to a new more modern website that allows more continuity throughout each district.
One line item that intrigued me was the “Leadership Development” line that nearly doubled for this next year. It seemed a bit vague, but the conference will be using this funding to send clergy and laity to different educational opportunities throughout the year. Conferences, workshops, and continuing education have a high priority in our conference, which I believe is vital for our future.
There were two other major concerns discussed in our dialogue. First was the cost of health benefits. The only change here was of course the continued rise. Many people are worried about this, but our conference is doing everything they can to keep costs low but still provide high quality care. Every three years the benefits are re-examined and all major and minor carriers are considered. The overall health of the denomination is what is worrisome and what causes the price to be so high.
Finally, there is a lot of concern in regards to the decrease in giving to our health and human services outreaches. There is a large decrease in that giving, but it comes down to two main things. The first thing discussed was that our conference is doing new things. We are moving in new directions. If we keep giving the same thing, to the same people, there cannot be growth or change. Secondly, we have to pay the fixed costs first (salary, pensions, health benefits etc.). Often times we are unable to pay the additional funds so these are the places that are cut. In our discussion a pastor challenged us to bring these discussions up in our local churches. This will be an excellent way for the churches that are able to step up and care for the local ministries of our church. This is an excellent challenge and it will be interesting to see churches rise up and give.
There was a lot that was discussed in our ninety-minute time slot- some of which was completely over my head. The biggest take-away I had from this discussion was that there are many people in our conference who have spent hours upon hours praying over and juggling with this budget. People are passionate about this (shocking- I know!) and truly don’t get enough credit for the hard work they put into creating this masterpiece flow sheet. After listening to them discuss the issues and concerns it is evident that our trust should be in them because they are listening to the Lord and feel His guidance for the upcoming year. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Dear blog family... I've been thinking a lot lately. About my blog. And the lack of it. I don't have any answers. Or a plan. I don't know when or what to blog about. It's weird. I'm just blank. I don't feel as witty as some. As wise as others. And as creative as those artsy ones. Perhaps I'll get out of this funk. Maybe I'll take the blog in a new direction. Or maybe I'll continue to post my daily whereabouts. I dunno. But for now... I'll post a picture of the most beautiful baby I have ever known. And feel so lucky to know. Her momma is pretty special gal. And whether Lillie likes it or not... I'm gonna be around a long while. So she better get used to my kisses and hugs and surprises. Those will come later. When she can appreciate being spoiled. :). Hope these brighten your day ;)