Conference Budget Processes: A New Lens

The most significant budgetary result of our Sustainability Task Force work was a shift was away from a “numbers-focused” lens to a “ministry-focused” lens.  From a sustainability standpoint, the following mathematical equation representation bears repeating

  • Financial Sustainability ≠ Conference Sustainability


  • Conference Sustainability = Fiscal Responsibility + Connection + Vital Ministry

In taking a numbers-focused approach, the inherent risk is that budgets will continue to be reduced such that ministry is defunded and we effectively cost cut ourselves out of existence.

A Budget Process sub-group of the task force assessed other approaches to not only setting our Conference budget (e.g., a flat/set percentage, a quadrennial budget, etc.), but also providing parameters to align our Conference budget with the financial realities of our local churches and providing them some level of predictability.  While there were merits to these alternative approaches, they did not outweigh the negative impacts.

As part of this evaluation process, a key observation was that a near-term floor for our Conference connectional budget was considered to be in the $8.2 to $8.3 million range. Going below that floor would lead to defunding ministry.

Although the work of the Sustainability Task Force did not significantly alter the underlying processes used to develop the connectional apportionment budget, certain changes were made to enable efficiency, streamline reporting and provide a foundation to adjust the way in which proposed funding at the committee level is determined.

The tactical changes made in the 2022 budget process included:

  1. Streamlining the budget request forms to eliminate areas of redundancy,
  2. Placing more emphasis on how committees will use their budgets for disciple-making efforts,
  3. Allocating committee budget requests across the Five Areas of Focus, and
  4. Enhancing the budget legislation to be more reader friendly.

By undertaking these initial tactical changes, opportunities for further change were identified, including:

  • Using the Five Areas of Focus allocations to assess areas in which further investment (or dis-investment) would be appropriate;
  • Identification of “overlap” between committees, allowing for either collaboration or proper alignment, and
  • Instances in which the Connectional Leadership Table could play a more active role in allocating budget funds throughout the year (i.e., “right sizing”/reducing committee budgets by utilizing discretionary CLT funds).

Please contact task force members Seth McClymonds, Mallory Miles, Paul Huey or Roger White if you have any questions.