A 2019 Budget Report from the Mountain Sky Council on Finance and Administration

February 03, 2020
Submitted by the Rev. Dr. C. Dennis Shaw
Statistician, Mountain Sky Conference, UMC

The Mountain Sky Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) is providing you this initial[i] report on how we finished Fiscal Year 2019 in terms of income and expenses.

The CFA reported in September 2019: “The message is mixed. Our income is down; through reduced spending, we are in the black, but this surely has an impact on mission accomplishment.”  

There is good news with a positive message: we finished 2019 with income exceeding expenses by more than $60,000.

As part of our responsible stewardship, we forecasted expected income over the course of the year.  Our 2019 income forecast hovered in the $5.6M range. This forecast started early and continued through the end of November. Very positive church giving in the fourth quarter saw us nearly $300,000 better than that forecast of $5.6M.

Our initial estimate for 2019 total income is $5,893,082. Our expense estimate is $5,829,372.

To return to the mixed message: the conference accomplished this good news despite income under budget by more than $766,000. Further, 2019 income was below 2018 income by a little under $222,000. This is part of the mixed message statement I offered in September and continued to address two more reports in the fall (November 4 and November 18).

Chart 1: Financial Results 2019In order to finish in the black (a positive position for the year), we had to delay and slow down hiring actions and underpay our General and Jurisdictional Apportionment. Chart 1 shows how we spread the shortfall from what was budgeted to our income. Over half of what was budgeted - that was not spent - was General and Jurisdictional Apportionment. Intentionally slowing staff fills accounted for a savings of a little over $300,000.

There is more good news. Throughout 2019 we paid our General and Jurisdictional Apportionment at a 65 percent rate. Because of the generosity of our local churches, the combined positive impact of October and December highs allowed us to finish the year at 80 percent in total, and we were able to support Africa University, Black College Fund, Methodist Education Fund, Episcopal Fund, Western Jurisdiction, and Interdenominational Funds at 100 percent.

On behalf of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration, we wish to say “thank you” to everyone who contributed this year. 
The local church apportionment year ends on January 31.  Payments made on your Mission Shares through that date will be credited at the individual church level for 2019. 

February 2020, marks the beginning of our 2020 Mission Share and Apportionment process. The conference will be supported by our income model moving from 13 percent to 10 percent on Adjusted Gross Income.  An article on that is here

We will support the General and Jurisdictional Church with a direct assessment that is explained here and shown for each church here.  We know this change will require adjustment and education. Our introductory webinar of January 14 focused on that change, and we will schedule several webinars in February to offer training and Q&A opportunities.

Your financial leadership continues to focus on our mission: “The Mountain Sky Conference of the UMC will live in God’s grace and abundance as we lead a re-energized peaceful and compassionate movement to claim the life-changing love of Jesus Christ for ALL people.”

Again, our gratitude and thanks for those who have supported from their own abundance, in Grace, this new thing:  the Mountain Sky Conference. 
Notes to Dennis at revdennisshaw@gmail.com or to Angela at athomas@mtnskyumc.org are most welcome. Again, thank you!
[i] We call this report “initial” because the numbers in many cases are still preliminary and subject to minor adjustments.

Special thanks to Angela Thomas, Mountain Sky CFO for contributing to this article.