With the exception of Senior Web Content Producer Lladale Carey, the Connectional Giving Team is full of new faces: Senior Manager Linda Bruner and Christy Losee and Saundrea Sampson, project specialists. This combination enables them to tap into different perspectives on giving opportunities that balance wisdom and experience with a renewed spirit. Linda says the team is dedicated to exploring and highlighting new and creative ways to convey the importance of giving and stewardship and what they mean to the church.
The Connectional Giving team’s goal is to increase awareness for and financial engagement with the apportioned funds, six church-wide Special Sundays and the missions of The Advance.
Since our agency as a whole has a lot of recent hires, here’s a quick summary of options for giving within The United Methodist Church. To start, the main way we support the ministries of The United Methodist Church is through apportioned funds—a method of giving that proportionally allocates the church-wide budget received through conferences and local churches. The church has also designated a number of Sundays throughout the year called Special Sundays as opportunities for recognizing and supporting particular ministries. Members are also encouraged to personally select missions, projects, or ministries to financially support through The Advance. This is an accountable, designated giving arm of The United Methodist Church that ensures 100% of each donation reaches its intended destination.
“We distribute print and electronic resources, offer training and seek out opportunities that promote the full scope of connectional giving opportunities to help encourage members to select ministries to support,” shares Linda.
Their efforts are far-reaching. “We recently traveled to Zambia to train the Congo Central Conferences through an educational generosity workshop,” she notes. “It informed participants about what it means to give through the apportionment system and how to share the stories of their conferences. This marked our third workshop in the Central Conference this year - after traveling to Zimbabwe and the Philippines. Next year we plan on traveling to Cote d’Ivoire.”
An online course provides church leaders with a holistic and biblical view of generosity and empowers them to become missional storytellers.
UMCom staff can play an important role in their initiatives. “We need help getting the messages out through all channels of UMCom,” Linda stressed. “Our theme of ‘Together we can do more’ is a strong statement for giving, but it also resonates with our collective work. When we all speak into encouraging engagement in our giving efforts for the church, it helps UMCom.”
She noted that “Whenever you can mention a Special Sunday, or speak into how a particular fund or project has helped in your efforts, it helps to remind others of the importance of stewardship. When you hear of a connectional giving opportunity please share it, post it, write an article about it, mention it at an event or in a phone call, get personally involved and/or be mindful to keep people in your spheres of influence aware of these important opportunities.”
Now that overseas travel is completed for the year and World Communion Sunday promotions have wrapped, they are focused on campaigns promoting the last Special Sunday of the year—United Methodist Student Day and Giving Tuesday efforts that will drive people to give to projects of The Advance.
“We have plans to re-educate our fellow employees on our connectional giving opportunities through a few planned breaks and chapel moments. More details to come,” added Linda.
Be on the look-out in future issues of [email protected] and on Teamphoria for internal connectional giving benefited fundraiser events and chances to learn more about the incredible benefits the connection offers within the UMC.