First, let me get a few things straight… I am a provisional elder of the Kansas West Annual Conference serving at a church in the Kansas East Annual Conference. I have not had a close look at the budget of the Kansas East conference. I did not have the opportunity to vote on the budget in Kansas East. With that disclosure out of the way…
Here is the situation as far as I am aware – The Kansas East Conference is facing a 10% budget shortfall for 2009. The proposal is that apportionments will be frozen at the level from 2008 and the budget shortfall will be made up with money from the growth grant fund. There is a possibility of a called annual conference on February 14 (believe it) to address the budget, if the mail in vote does not pass.
What is this growth grant money, you may ask. An article from 10/2007 on the Kansas East website gives background on the growth grants.
The Growth Grants is a new program established by the conference as a way to utilize apportionment income from Church of the Resurrection over and above the amount applied to the conference budget to spark revitalization in existing congregations. The conference voted in 2006 to cap any local church’s apportionment contribution to the conference budget at 16 percent of the total conference budget. Funds in excess of 16 percent of the conference budget apportioned to a church are channeled into the Growth Grants program, which is earmarked for funding church revitalization projects in the conference.
Resurrection pays 100% of apportionments every year. To my knowledge, the 2006 proposal was to prevent unhealthy dependence on any particular local church for the budget of the annual conference. Also, it serves to prevent the impression that Resurrection has undue influence on the annual conference as a result of its contribution to the annual budget.
At the Kansas City district clergy gathering this week, I found out more information about the situation. The Kansas City district, minus Resurrection, pays 45 percent of apportionments. If the KC district paid 70 percent of apportionments the budget issue in the conference would be solved.
I believe that using growth grant funds to make up a budget shortfall in the conference is inappropriate.
Using growth grant funds for the annual budget means that Resurrection is subsidizing other churches that do not pay their apportionments. It subverts the original purpose of the 2006 proposal to create growth grants. Once growth grant money has been used for the budget it will be easier to do that in the future.
I believe that the conference needs to realistically align the budget with income while preserving the growth grant fund. I believe that each church not paying 100% of apportionments could reasonably commit to pay an additional 10% each year until 100% pay out is reached.
What do you make of all this?