General and Jurisdictional Apportionments: Ministerial Education Fund

September 01, 2020
Editor's note: This is the fifth article in a series of articles for the Mountain Sky Conference to learn about the various funds that are make up the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments. A list of all of the funds is shown in Table 1 along with the requested support from the Mountain Sky Conference.

Submitted by the Rev. Sharon Langfeldt
Senior Pastor, Christ United Methodist Church, Denver, CO
Member, Conference Council on Finance & Administration

Have you ever wondered about the process that a UMC minister goes through to become an ordained? A step in the process of ordination is graduating with a Master of Divinity degree from an approved theological school. Through one of the funds financed by Apportionments, Methodist Education Fund (MEF), funds are directed to the 13 various theological schools. When a local church chooses to pay a part of their Apportionments to the MEF, that money helps to educate and equip leaders for ministry, making it possible for leaders who’ve been called and gifted by God to faithfully serve The United Methodist Church.

In the 52 years since the Ministerial Education Fund was established in 1968, over $800 million has been raised to support the ordination of clergy. Once ordained, ministers can apply for MEF funds to keep theologically current by through continuing education opportunities. Additionally, MEF funds are used to allow local pastors to complete the course-of-study to become Licensed Local Pastors. The Ministerial Education Fund also provides for initiatives to provide sustained educational opportunities for those in the central conference.

With the money designated for the MEF by local churches, the annual conference retains 25 percent of the total. That 25 percent is utilized by the clergy in the Mountain Sky Conference!

The education of those called to become ministers and leaders in the United Methodist Church would not be possible without existence and work of the world-wide connection and work of the United Methodist Ministerial Education Fund. The proposed budget for the MEF for the 2021-2024 quadrennium is $76,578,011.

Table 1 below shows the percentages of the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments allocated to each of the Connectional Support funds. The MEF is 16.9 percent of our General and Jurisdictional Apportionments support. The local church assessment for 2020 was based on proportional share of the cost of Staff – Clergy and Lay, Operations and Programs. Capital Expenses, Debt Retirement and those funds sent in for Mission Shares, Special Sundays or other Church contributions locally and to the conference are excluded from the calculation. 

These eight funds supported by our Apportionments, and the Western Jurisdiction Funds are continuously evaluated with respect to the total payments of the Mountain Sky Conference.

For additional information on the Ministerial Education Fund, check out the “Did You Know” flyers that can be found at this link: Ministerial Education Fund - Did You Know?

As can be seen in the list of all funds, shown in Table 1, there are seven General Church funds, including the Fund for General Administration. The eighth fund included in the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments are the Western Jurisdiction.  Also in the chart is the requested support from the Mountain Sky Conference. Each church in the Mountain Sky Conference may designate, as they desire, how their portion of their General and Jurisdictional Apportionments are allocated. The local churches, as we desire, can choose the funds that we value, and direct our Apportionment funding to them accordingly. This legislation passed at our 2019 Annual Conference gives churches more discretion on how their funds are distributed. For example, if your church puts $1,000 to a specific fund, the money from your church will fund that activity at the General Conference level. Simply put, each church designates the number of funds they put into the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments.

More information about all of the General/Connectional Support Funds is available on the GCFA website. Several articles on this topic can be found on the Mountain Sky website under "Responsible Stewardship." A succinct article about the allocation of General and Jurisdictional Funds based on local church values, written in July 2020 can be found on the Mountain Sky Conference News page.
Table 1 General and Jurisdictional Funds

This article was written by the Rev. Sharon Langfeldt, a clergy member of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration. Sharon is the Senior Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Denver.