What Are We Paying For? Why?
A Short Story About Connectional Apportionments
I once read a comment about connectional apportionments from someone who asked the question, “Is this like the baggage fee I have to pay when flying?”
Another person wanted to know if Apportionments were similar to dues you pay to belong to a club.
I suppose these are not unreasonable questions to ask if you have never had the opportunity to receive an explanation of how Connectional Apportionments are an integral part of the fabric of the United Methodist Church.
When John Wesley was beginning to realize the full extent of the reformation he was leading in the Anglican Church, he began to develop fundamental principles upon which his reformation would stand. Three of the very important pillars he conceived were that the church should be connectional, clergy should be itinerant, and the church should have doors that are wide open to all believing Christians and to people yearning to discover how to move toward a Christian life.
Wesley considered a connected church to be essential to building and maintaining outreach and disciple-making far beyond the walls of local churches by multiplying the resources of any one church many times over. Remember the Apostle Paul’s work gathering resources from among the gentile churches of Asia Minor to support the Christian communities in Jerusalem.
Through the years, the connected churches of John Wesley’s time have become the United Methodist Church we know today. The principles on which it was built are as vital today as they were then. We are CONNECTED. Our global reach in support of disasters, the disadvantaged, those seeking to find their way into a Christian life and those continuing the mission of disciple-making are supported by every member of the world-wide United Methodist community through our Apportionment system.
Although much larger, more global and more diverse, our Connectional Apportionment system today “connects the dots” between our local churches, Conferences and the denomination to Kingdom-building efforts in our communities and throughout the world. Our resources are marshaled at various places such as our own Mission Barn and other United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) depots, colleges, global missions and ministry centers.
We don’t often see all of this from our individual churches, but be assured that it is working and effective and each and every one of us is united in outreach as we work to fulfill our great mission of “providing resources to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
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