My message about Shared Ministry
December 20, 2016 / By Mike Kelly
When pondering Ministry Shares, I always tell my congregations that we must realize that Jesus Christ’s ministry is not limited to Reynoldsville or Newfield United Methodist churches; it is global, as noted in Matthew 28, “Go and make disciples of all nations, we are responsible!”
Ministry Shares help make global ministries possible, as part of these monies go to General Connectional Ministries, which funds broader initiatives of The United Methodist Church. For example, it helps to fund Africa University.
It is important to remember and to follow our mission statement: To live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places. If you choose to be a United Methodist, this doesn’t seem so optional. In order to be God’s love with our neighbors, we must maintain a presence in the community, which is made possible through shared giving.
We pay Shared Ministry just like we pay our light bill or anything else, the only difference is that we get a lot more bang for our buck, as ministry shares fund everything from Camp & Retreat Ministries to Conference staff salaries, Equitable Compensation, congregational development, and justice and mercy ministries.
And pastors play a key role in the collection and payment of Ministry Shares.
There is no place in The Book of Discipline that makes it optional to pay shared ministry. Instead, it is the duty of the pastor to see that it is done.
When it comes to shared ministry, I have heard the phrase: “What has the conference done for us?” My most basic response is, “Well, I’m here!” Without Ministry Shares, pastors would not be able to do what they do because part of these monies helps teach, ordain, appoint, develop, and support clergy. In addition, as a disciple of Christ, we should never be looking at what someone has done for us; hasn’t Christ done enough?
Shared ministry is just like any other mission, and I am so proud of my churches for supporting this mission.
Last year, Reynoldsville UMC paid 100 percent of our shared ministry. . We then heard Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb’s call for churches to give more than 100 percent if possible and paid another 5 percent. Newfield UMC paid our 100 percent and responded with an additional 3 percent. That is part of being United Methodists. We must realize that when our churches can’t help, others are there to lend aid.
There is no special formula of how churches will pay 100 percent Ministry Shares. Just make it happen because it is clearly the expectation. My churches don’t say to me, “Pastor, how are we going to pay this?” Instead, it is just expected that we are going to pay in full.
Have faith, and make sure that God is in control.