Following Annual Conference, it was apparent that the need for local churches to support extension ministries was greater than ever. While local churches will receive a 2% reduction in “Our Mission Covenant” commitment, funding to Campus Ministries, Urban Missions, and our Camps would be cut significantly. In response to this change, at least two churches in the Kentucky Conference have decided to re-designate the savings from the reduction to our some of our extension ministries.
Asbury UMC, in the Covington District, decided it was going to express its commitment to these ministries in a practical way. At their July meeting, the Administrative Council decided to take early action, and voted to re-designate their entire 2% savings.
The 2% reduction in “Our Mission Covenant” would save Asbury approximately $6,600 annually. At the urging of Pastor Phil Hogg, the administrative council decided that they would designate those funds to three ministries close to the heart of their church people. Beginning in January, the Northern Kentucky Wesley Foundation, Ida Spence Mission, and Aldersgate Camp will begin receiving monthly gifts from Asbury UMC’s “savings.” The church’s leaders agreed that this decision needed to be made early, before it ever felt the impact of the reduction in apportionments. Waiting until budget time would mean that the 2% savings could have been absorbed somewhere else, and the opportunity to express a commitment to these ministries would have been missed.
Christ Church in the Bowling Green district is following along the same pathway. Christ Church has decided to repurpose their 2% savings into supporting ministries that are both close to their heart and close in proximity. As of this coming January, Christ Church will make Loucon Camp and Retreat Center, the WKU Wesley Foundation and the Foundry line items in their 2015 budget. These ministries are special to the congregation at Christ Church and they have supported them in the past, both financially and with their actions. In the summer of 2014 Christ Church sent 26 students to Camp Loucon and has supported the WKU Wesley Foundation by hosting dinners for the students and having church members serve on the Foundation's board of directors.
Christ Church pastor, David Grout, stresses the need to address the change in funding for our extension ministries saying, "If we don't address this aggressively, it can become an issue 3 -4 years from now, so Christ Church has decided to be proactive."
Both Asbury UMC and Christ Church (Bowling Green) challenge other churches to do the same in support of the extension ministries in their part of the conference.
Photo courtesy of Mike DuBose UMNS