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It’s year-end statistical report season

Posted: December 18 2017 at 12:00 AM
Author: By Rev. Brian Gilbert


Robhamilton

Have you ever wanted to change the world? Most churches, if asked that question, would immediately respond “yes.” It is a natural response to the life-changing power of grace to want to change the world in order that God’s love may be more fully realized. This desire to change the world is deeply ingrained in our identity as United Methodists, but I’ve come to learn that most churches don’t realize how much they are already changing the world.

You see, I’m a nerd … no really, I am. I’m that person that gets excited when it is Year-End Statistical Report season. I realize that many of you are shaking your heads, but the reason that I like the year-end statistical report is it gives me a concrete example of how the world has been changed through the actions of the local church.

It is a temptation to just fill in the blanks on the report with the same numbers that we used last year, but these numbers reflect lives touched and changed by ministries of justice and mercy. Think about it, those personal hygiene items that your congregation collected to help the local homeless mission, those back-to-school supplies for kids in the community to use, even those prayer shawls that your knitting ministry makes, all have a value to them that should be reflected in their appropriate “boxes” on the report.

This is why it is so important for us to keep accurate records of all the things that we have collected, donated, and distributed throughout the year in ministry and mission. When you total the cost spent on purchasing each donated item and place that number on your reports, you’ll be surprised at just how much money your congregation has given to others in the name of Christ.

It is also important to report these numbers so that our Annual Conference and Jurisdiction have an accurate understanding of how active we are as local churches and as an Annual Conference.

You see, changing the world is a part of our identity as United Methodists. The whole apportionment system was started by John Wesley as penny offerings called “askings,” in an attempt to pay off the debt accrued when Methodist societies bought an old cannon foundry and turned it into a soup kitchen. Using the gifts that we possess to help others and change the world is a part of our spiritual DNA. Think how excited your church will be when you are able to tell them how much you actually gave away when you finish those year-end reports?!

Oh, and there is another benefit! Recording and reporting these numbers affects your church’s apportionment payments over time, typically lowering them to reflect the ministry that you are already engaged in.

So, keep on changing the world … but let’s write it all down so we can celebrate your actions together! Remember statistical reporting begins Jan. 1, 2018 and ends end Feb. 28, 2018. Visit www.umctables.org to enter your information after Jan. 1.

Visit the Statistical Reporting Page for more information.

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