Out of Control Budget Processes

I like the conference treasurers I know. I
think they are good, responsible people. I don’t think they are communicators,
and some don’t seem to be, how shall I put it, politically
astute.

I read with a bit of shock a memo from a conference treasurer announcing the passage of a resolution by the treasurer’s association calling for reform of the General Church budgeting process.

The resolution calls for a process that would create a unified budget and take it to General Conference to be voted up or down. At General Conference the process would not allow items to be added. The memo explaining this action by the treasurers says “the budget process is out of control”

As one charged with marketing the funds and offerings approved by General Conference and raising funds for the general budget of the church, I must say to the treasurers. Friends, your motives are good and pure. Your communication, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Here’s why.

The budget process at General Conference is messy, confusing, difficult and frustrating. But, out of control. No. Some people came to the last General Conference with a percentage increase for the total budget that was their target. They dominated the process. It was very unfortunate because they left a lot of hurt in their wake. They were viewed by some as bullies and by others and heroes. Whether intended or not, this debate fed an anti-institutioinal bias that is rampant in the church and that is truly unfortunate because it diminishes our understanding of our common mission and ministry. This saddens me because The United Methodist Church is the one institution that has given me hope for a reconciling and healing community over a lifetime disappointment with other institutions.

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