Foreword

Acknowledgements

Julie

Visible Problem Indicators

Stewardship

Agents of Change - Issues

Institutional Dynamics

The Institutional and the Local Church

Operative Theology

Prognosis for the Future

Revival - What is Needed?

Closing Remarks

Appendix K
Financial Report on The United Methodist
General Board of Global Ministries

The following is a financial snapshot of The (UM) General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) that was contained in "The 1997 Stewardship Report on The United Methodist Church"*. The information presented here is far from comprehensive; a shortage of space precludes our giving more complete coverage and analyses of expenditures by the GBGM. Since this board is designated by the United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline as the "missional instrument" of the UMC, it has a primal responsibility to translate God's commands into practice. The largest agency in the UMC, it receives more money than does any other. In the examination of financial data, it should be noted that there have been discrepancies between the Treasurer's Report (TR) and the unaudited Financial Disclosure Report (FDR), both of which are published by the GBGM; these are the primary source documents used in all of our financial studies of this organization. For instance (for historical purposes), income differences varied from the greatest in 1992 (TR): $120,467,706 versus FDR: $134,326,668 - a difference of $13,858,962, or 11.50%) to the least in 1994 (TR): $133,173,640 versus FDR: $133,770,208 - a difference of $596,568, or .448%). For the sake of consistency, FDR figures were used since this is the document that also lists organizations supported.

1994 1995 1996
GBGM Assets: $295,956,199 $387,994,505 $409,210,898
% Change of assets 2.06% 31.10% 5.47%
from Previous Year: Decrease Increase Increase


1994 1995 1996
GBGM Income: $133,770,208 $168,847,907 $191,551,170TR
% Change of income 15.56% 26.22% 13.358%
from Previous Year: Increase Increase Increase


1994 1995 1996
Administration/NYC
Office Support:
$30,226,708 $32,668,817 $49,486,777
% of GBGM Budget: 22.65% 19.35% 25.835%


1994 1995 1996
Direct Spt./Persons
in Mission (GBGM):
$16,392,710 $22,731,586 $19,241,794
% of GBGM Budget: 12.25% 13.46% 10.045%


1994 1995 1996
Direct Spt./Pers. in
Mission (World Div.):
$11,361,989 $15,572,143 $10,787,894
% of GBGM Budget: 8.49% 9.22% 5.632%


A full board meeting costs $350,000, while executive committee meetings cost $275,000. The GBGM spent $738,000 for two meetings in 1995 and had budgeted $855,785 for two in 1996.(See Appendix J, "Report by Dr. Karl Stegall") For 1996, the General Board of Global Ministries had net assets of $409,210,898, more than at any other time in its history. The GBGM received $191,551,170 in revenues in 1996, up from $168,847,907 in 1995 - an increase of $22,703,263, or +13.358%. Of 1996's total income, $22,900,588 came from World Service apportioned funds, $39,989,923 from the Women's Division funds and from the United Methodist Women, and the rest from outside trusts and interest, dividends, capital gains from the GBGM's some $273,517,812 of investments in 1996 (up from $251,729,019 in 1995).

Support of the GBGM's offices in New York City and other administrative expenses received $49,486,777 (25.83% of income), up from $32,668,817 in 1995 (19.35% of income for that year). In contrast, direct support of persons in mission received $19,241,794 in 1996 (10.045% of income), down from $22,731,586 in 1995, which was 13.46% of income for that year. Direct support of persons in mission in the world division [i.e., foreign missionaries] was $10,787,894 in 1996 (5.632% of income), down from $15,572,143 in 1995 (9.22% of income for that year). This is consistent with the pattern of decline of money actually reaching the mission field, not only for the World Division but for the entire GBGM as well.[This correlates with the experiences of Dr. Julia McLean Williams in her testimony "So Great a Cloud" in Appendix N] In the past, American Methodism fielded over 2500 in the 1920s, far more than any other Protestant denomination. By the 1960s it had declined to 1500, and to 516 in 1985, 323 in 1993, 320 in 1995, and to the present total of 287 (foreign) missionaries with the World Division. Citing "budget problems" for 1993 and 1994, Robert J. Harman, World Division Executive stated that 20 missionaries "must retire or not continue in missionary service" due to reduced funding(1), yet despite the fact that total revenues received by the GBGM are higher than ever before, the missionary force has dwindled to the present level.

The financial data above reflect the picture that overall revenues have been increasing, and more money is going to the category of "administrative expenses" (to include support of its offices in New York City), both in actual dollars and also as a higher percentage of GBGM income. This latter statistic reflects a double increase since higher proportions of a growing revenue are allocated to this area. On the other hand, money allocated into overall mission support and foreign mission support decreased, both in terms of real dollars and in terms of the percentage of GBGM revenues.

The study [by The Rev. Ed Ezaki, CPA, and former Member of the Audit and Review Committee of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA)] included in Appendix L approaches the stewardship issue from the perspective that GCFA policy is that denominational agencies retain a minimum of 25% of annual operating budgets in reserve. If this is the case, the figures cited above show excessive accumulation of moneys at the general church level. This study then offers the estimate that the World Division of the GBGM has accumulated assets representing 40 years' worth of World Service Fund income. In other words, with the funds it has invested, it could operate for 40 more years without receiving another penny from the World Service part of the apportionments. In addition, the fact that our general boards and agencies have accumulated more invested assets now than at any other time in history is indicative that not all of the money given in response to appeals, based on poignant pictures showing abject need, is making its way to help the people so portrayed. In other words, the pictures are used to elicit sympathy on the part of donors, who give their money thinking it will alleviate that poverty, but the funds are invested by the general agencies and they become wealthier.

Observations.

  • Money ($442,004) allocated in the Financial Disclosure Report indicated "Undesignated/No description found/Payee name not found." Although evidences of this were found in the past, the figure given here is for 1994 only. At best, this indicates a lack of financial responsibility in this money being expended with no record of the payee, nor a record of the cause for which the money was paid; at worst, this would be an obfuscation of the recipient to preclude disclosure. The World Division was by far the worst offender in this area with 3.63% of its moneys being used in this way.

  • At present, the "mainline denominations" account for only 9% of all of missionaries sent out to foreign countries.(2)

  • More money is spent on supporting the personnel and headquarters in New York City (a city that is one of the highest cost of living areas in the United States and the world) than on the entire missionary force: total expenditures on administration and support of the NYC office for 1996 was $49,486,777, while support of persons in overseas mission totaled $10,787,894. The support of the NYC offices and other administrative expenses is 4.587 times that of the entire overseas missionary force. This reflects "overhead expense" in supporting the overseas missionary force.

  • On keeping the GBGM in New York, A UM Teenager had wanted the GBGM to move to Independence, Kansas where the Atlantic Richfield Company had offered a free 140,000 square-foot building. Cody Nuss, 18, appealed the decision of the site Selection Task Force to consider only Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and Washington, D.C., but met with no results. Don Messer chaired the task force.(3) An amendment to consider a move to the Atlanta area was defeated. Ignoring the Price-Waterhouse estimate of $9-12 million dollars for the cost of the move and using the GBGM-commissioned study of $72 million, the 1996 General Conference voted to explore remaining in New York City, to be decided at the year 2000 General Conference. (See Appendix J "Report by Dr. Karl Stegall")

  • The GBGM continues to espouse radical ideas such as "liberation theology" (the theology of some movements which espouse violence to achieve their goals) while eschewing traditional biblical Christianity. In conversation, a top GBGM executive was told by one of his missionaries that "an experience with Jesus Christ was a necessity to be a good missionary;" the executive's reply was, "That's a controversial statement." When questioned by a candidate for the foreign mission field about evangelism, another GBGM staffer stated, "Oh, we don't convert anyone to Christ; we let God do that" (see Appendix I "Missionary Orientation"). A dominant view is that to try to evangelize others is "to exhibit the height of spiritual arrogance" or "spiritual imperialism.

  • In the area of political Activism, at its Fall 1994 directors' meeting, the GBGM called for friendlier U.S. ties with communist Cuba and North Korea. In addition to its promised support for the WCC investigation of alleged human rights abuses in the U.S., it donated $50,000 to the WCC for support of its investigation.(4) At its Spring, 1995 meeting, the GBGM called for U.S. relations with (communist) North Korea, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea, the promotion of Korean reunification, and the recognition of the U.S. role in "perpetuating the suffering and separation of the Korean people." GBGM representative Lois Dauway Supported President Clinton's veto of the Partial Birth Abortion bill. At its April directors meeting, the GBGM denounced Republican ideas as "mean-spirited" and established a "Human Welfare Crisis Task Force" to resist congressional budget cuts. A delegation from the board's Women's Division will lobby Congress directly. Division chief Joyce Sohl claims there "are many demons in our midst today" as she bemoaned a "reshifting of national priorities towards military preparedness" and away from "children's health and education." Both the GBGM and the bishops oppose cuts in welfare programs.(5)

  • The 1996 GBGM's Financial Disclosure Report has seen a marked increase of money given to organizations involved in various aspects of universal health advocacy, political activism, "women's theology," "day care," "environmental racism," "economic justice," "economic racism," and "justice" issues. There is concern that money spent on the "women's theology" may, in fact, be used to promote the "goddess" theologies evident at the 1993 "Re-Imagining" Conference. It is thought that this advocacy works toward a society in which all have equal pay, standards of living, etc., which would, in turn, devolve to a "classless" society.

(The) Women's Division (WD) of the General Board of Global Ministries:

Insight: "The hand that rocks the cradle steadies the Nation." A comment by J. E. McFayden is cogent, and Amos 4:1-3 provides a case in point: "All the Hebrew prophets knew that for the temper and quality of a civilization, the women are greatly responsible. A country is largely what its women make it; if they are careless or unworthy, the country is on the road to ruin."

- The Navigators

The Women's Division (WD) is a dynamic, capable part of the GBGM. Its revenue-generating skills would be the envy of any fund-raising organization in the country, and much of its money goes to support good causes. Unfortunately, some finds its way into questionable use; misleading rhetoric further clouds the reality of its ultimate destination. For instance, many fund raising activities are used to raise money to go directly into "missions," with visions of support provided to feed a "hungry child" or to care for a "poverty-stricken family." But in reality, this money goes into one of several funds comprising the WD's over $100,000,000 in assets. From there it is channeled into any number of causes, some of which are listed in this study. Further confusing the issue is an imprecise definition of the term "missions." Traditionally, evangelicals understand it to mean caring for the physical needs of people coupled with attempts to lead them into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Money raised by UM tithes and other fund-raising activities may be used to support true missions, but it is more likely that it will go to something entirely different: from providing sociopolitical services for people to funding attendance at events such as the "Re-Imagining" Conference.

Following is an examination of funding for the Women's Division for the most current three years:

1994 1995 1996
WD Assets: $92,911,935 $108,991,817 $110,983,970
WD Income: $34,341,262 $52,471,182 $39,989,923

Income was significantly larger in 1995 than 1994, an increase of 52.79%. Despite the fact that funding decreased from 1995 to 1996, it is still greater than in 1994. The Women's Division is reflective of other general boards by growing its accumulated investments.


"Read it and weep. Weep for the millions of families and children who could have been saved from starvation and disease. Weep for the millions who might have been saved for heaven but were not. Weep for our trusting members who have apparently been fleeced for several years by the General Board of Global Ministries in their ignorance and greed. Weep for our pastors who have been intimidated for years by District Superintendents and Bishops who threatened removal to pastors who told the truth to their congregations. This is intolerable."

- Rev. Carson Dan Lauffer, pastor, FUMC, Prophetstown, Illinois

Unless otherwise noted, data above came from the following:

  • Report of the Treasurers of the General Board of Global Ministries for the years covering 1994, 1995, and 1996.
  • Financial Disclosure Report of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church for the years 1994, 1995, and 1996.
  • The Daily Christian Advocate for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, covering the 1997-2000 quadrennium.

Notes:

  1. Speech by Dr. Gerald Anderson, CONVO 90 in Louisville, Kentucky.
  2. The United Methodist Reporter, November 5, 1993, p. 3.
  3. Newscope, September 2, 1994, p. 2.
  4. See Annex G of "The 1997 Stewardship Report on The United Methodist Church" on the Concerned Methodists' website*
  5. UMAction Briefing, Spring 1995, p. 1.
* Available on the INTERNET at the Concerned Methodists website at: http://cmpage.org


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