Budget Recommendation Slashed


By Walter Fenton –

General Conference delegates in Portland will be asked to adopt the lowest general church budget in 16 years. The United Methodist Church’s Connectional Table (CT) and General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) agreed to recommend a $599 million budget for general church expenditures 2017-2020.

Over the past two years the GCFA and the CT have worked to propose a realistic budget to General Conference. The GCFA seeks guidance from the denomination’s Economic Advisory Committee, a group of economists that performs economic modeling for the council. In 2014 the committee initially recommended a $628 million budget.

However, dramatic declines in the rate of worship attendance in local UM churches in the U.S. led the committee to revise its recommendation. Based on the new attendance information it offered two options, an optimistic budget of $604 million and a more conservative target of $595.6 million.

The GCFA and the CT tentatively adopted a $611 million proposal in February, but in recent meetings both groups opted for the new $599 million target. The general church budget is apportioned to annual conferences, which in turn apportions it to local churches. The budget provides funding for 10 of the church’s 13 general agencies.

Walter Fenton is a United Methodist clergyperson and an analyst for Good News.



  1. Money follows mission. Focus on the mission of the Church… evangelism, the money will follow. Anything else is something else anyone else can do. No one else can do evangelism but the People of God. Focus on that mission that is ours uniquely. Everything else will follow.

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