This month the Mission and Finance team want to highlight Ministry Shares as one of the “Ties that Binds” us together as United Methodists. Ministry Shares are the funds needed to operate our Michigan Conference and to provide services to the local churches and their members. Ministry Shares are often considered our church’s “tithe” to the United Methodist Church. They are part of our first mile giving and to date we have paid 30% of what we owe for 2019. We are praying that generous giving this fall season will help us catch up!

Through the Ministry Shares covenant, the people of the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church connect together to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Ministry Shares provide an opportunity to do together what no one person, church, mission and ministry project, district, or annual conference could do alone. It is an opportunity to multiply and share God’s gifts in the world.

This connectional ministry is what makes United Methodists unique and has become a strong generous tradition. It takes our mission beyond the walls of our church and extends it to all our brothers and sisters who are affiliated under the United Methodist umbrella. Giving in this area is our primary responsibility before we undertake any other mission giving because these funds support the church itself. Without the church, we could not do the amazing work we do. Some of the specific programs that Ministry Shares support include:

·          Africa University – Supports the only United Methodist related degree-granting university on the continent of Africa. More
·          Black College Fund – Support for the 11 U.S. historically black colleges and universities supported by The United Methodist Church. More
·          Episcopal Fund – Provides support to the Bishops who oversee the United Methodist faith community. More
·          General Administration Fund – supports the critical administrative functions of the church. More
·          Interdenominational Cooperation Fund – works to promote the Christian faith through unity with other denominations.  More
·          Ministerial Education Fund – enables the church to recruit and educate ordained and licensed ministers and church leadership. More
·          World Service Fund – The World Service Fund is the essential core of our global outreach ministry, underwriting Christian mission around the world. More

Methodism’s founder John Wesley said, " I look upon all the world as my parish ." Wesley reminded us that we are called to step out of our little corner of the world to spread the good news, transform hopelessness into hope, and help God’s children wherever they may be. It is through our Ministry Shares that we step out in faith as Methodists to make the world our parish.

On kickoff Sunday, we celebrated being recognized as a Spotlight church! To qualify as a Spotlight church in the Michigan Conference, you must not only pay 100% of your ministry shares, but must also contribute to district, conference, international, & covenant partnership ministries.  What an honor and blessing to be part of this group.  Well done church!