2016 Spending Plan FAQ
What is the process for developing the annual Spending Plan?
The Conference Leadership Team, Council of Finance & Administration, Trustees, Conference staff and other Conference Teams work collaboratively to prioritize spending areas outlined in the annual budget. The 2016 Spending Plan was developed at the end of 2015 from an estimate of Ministry Share collections of $7,800,000 based on actual collection levels in 2015.
The Spending Plan for 2017 has yet to be developed. Formulation of the Spending Plan will start with an estimate of 2017 Ministry Share collections as a framework to prioritize and budget expenditures. An estimate of the 2017 Ministry Share collection levels will be made in the fall of 2016.
Possible scenarios for 2017 have been described in the pre-conference briefings at different Ministry Share collection levels. As you can see from the following chart, even slightly higher collection levels can significantly increase to amounts available to meet the variable cost category.
What expenses are considered Contingent in the 2016 Ministry Share Spending Plan?
The following is a listing of the expenditures classified as Contingent in the 2016 Spending Plan: (click on image to enlarge)
How do I interpret the 2016 Budget and Spending Plan PDF?
The column titled “2016 Ministry Share Revenue Budget” (left column) indicates the proposed and approved budget for 2016. The column titled “2016 Ministry Share Plan” (right column) shows the anticipated Ministry Shares and how they will be allocated. You can see where budget cuts have been made by comparing the left column to the right column.
What was the exact amount of Shared Ministry dollars that did come in for 2015?
In 2015, $7,872,681 of the approved $10,340,438 Ministry Shares budget was collected, or 76.13 percent.
Why are we buying and renovating a Conference Center when we can’t afford to fund the ministries we agreed to support?
The funds that are being used to buy and renovate the new Conference Center in Liverpool are designated funds resulting from the sale of buildings from Upper New York’s predecessor Conferences. These funds cannot be used towards the Ministry Shares budget, and over time this new Conference Center will realize a cost-savings for the Conference versus the other options explored.
Why was the chaplain position at Syracuse University cut?
Cutting the funding for the chaplaincy position was one of the most painful decisions made by the Conference Leadership Team (CLT) and Conference Council on Finance & Administration (CF&A). There is a great history between SU and The United Methodist Church. Unfortunately, with the 2015 Ministry Shares receipts coming in at 76.13 percent and the 2016 Ministry Shares payments uncertain, this is the kind of painful decision that had to be made. Our commitment is to continue ministry to students at Syracuse University and creative options are being explored in cooperation with the university administration that will allow us to maintain a United Methodist presence on the SU campus.
With so many cuts to college ministry, what can churches do to help the young leaders on campus?
While the hope is that all the cuts to campus ministry are only for a season, there is also hope that this presents a ministry opportunity for local churches. If you and your church are feeling called to be in ministry with a students on a college campus, you are invited to reach out to the office of the Director of Connectional Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 424-7878.
Is there a way to return funding to a particular area of the budget that we feel is important?
Yes, the ministries that are no longer funded due to the change in the spending plan are still in the budget, and if Ministry Shares come in at higher than expected levels some ministries may be able to be funded again.
How can I help improve 2016 Ministry Share giving?
Work with your church to give 100 percent of your Ministry Shares benevolence. Some churches have even given beyond 100 percent of their Ministry Shares and if your church can afford to do that it would be worth prayerfully considering. If you cannot give 100 percent don’t just give up. Send what you can to support our shared ministry and work on a plan to improve your church’s giving level.
Are there tools to help me tell the story of why Ministry Shares matter?
Yes! The Ministry Shares Toolbox is full of helpful videos, brochures, graphics, articles, and more. Visit http://www.unyumc.org/resources/ministry-shares-toolbox for the Ministry Shares Toolbox.
Where are we as a Conference investing the resources in strengthening the ministries of local churches?
In many areas. For example, district grants will be fully funded at $10,000 per district in order to provide direct support for the ministries at local churches through District Leadership Teams. This shift towards enhanced funding for District Leadership Teams is possible because Ministry Oversight Teams are being phased out, allowing resources to be reallocated closer to the local church. Another area of investment is the work that the Rev. Dr. Aaron Bouwens and his team are doing in relation to congregational revitalization and leadership development. This includes skill-based training for pastors and laity, consultations with congregations eager to grow and reach out, and one-on-one coaching for pastors seeking help in leading their congregations to the next level.
Who should I contact for more information?
For more information, please contact Upper New York Conference Finance Office at (315) 898-2000.