July 01, 2015
Literally millions of dollars have been donated and distributed through the Foundation in 48 years,” reports David Atkins, the Foundation’s long-time director. This is news that should be shared freely, but somehow the message sometimes gets lost. Atkins encouraged delegates to report back to their home churches to spread the word.
Atkins would like all United Methodist in Missouri to be aware of the following services that the foundation provides:
- Expanded options for giving (including receiving gifts of stock)
- Grants & scholarships
- Stewardship education
- Long-term funds administration
Print and electronic resources from the Foundation are available to churches; many of those publications can be customized for local church use. Resources from the Foundation are used to grow ministry. Atkins cited John 15:5, I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
“This is true in the life of each Christian disciple and, by extension, in the life of our shared ministries together. The Foundation is one more part in that divine system of growth, fruition, harvest and renewal,” he said.
A variety of programs access some of the $86 million in assets each year. Ministry grants go to local churches. Students in United Methodist institutions of higher education receive scholarships. Interns serve local churches and United Methodist agencies.
And the synergistic “Dollars for Scholars” program combines Foundation resources with funds from either Saint Paul School of Theology or Central Methodist University and from a local church as well as from the United Methodist Higher Education Fund to help make higher education more affordable for future church leaders. In the last ten years, these scholarships have totaled more than $1.2 million.
David Atkins was excited to share that the Foundation is one of 23 agencies to receive an initial grant from the Lilly Foundation to work toward greater financial peace and security for United Methodist Clergy and the churches they serve. Pastors were encouraged to go to the Foundation’s website at www.mumf.org
to take a survey that will help provide data about pastors financial planning, spending habits, teaching to local churches about giving and needs that pastors express for help in making financial decisions. Survey participants will be thanked with a Starbucks $5 gift certificate upon completion of the survey.
“Seminary costs have ratcheted up over the last ten years,” Atkins reports. Students often write or speak to Foundation staff members to express their thanks for help with funding their education.
The Mozambique Initiative
The Mozambique Initiative (MI) had much to celebrate this year at Annual Conference! After a long process of filming, audio recording, creating, writing, and editing, the MI rolled out a brand new discipleship curriculum that was given to all registrants of Annual Conference.
This four-week curriculum includes a DVD with six high quality videos that share the story of the MI’s work in Mozambique, a CD of original Mozambican worship music, and a four-week study guide for small group discussion or sermon series topics. This material is designed to teach congregations about mission and service, and is a useful tool for discipleship. The MI was excited to reveal this material at Annual Conference and believes that it will be an asset to local congregations.
During Annual Conference, a workshop was given about how to use the material in local church settings. During this time the videos were shown and participants were free to learn and ask questions about the material. Additionally, members of the creative team from La Croix UMC who filmed the videos for the curriculum were in attendance, and the success of the team was celebrated at the Mozambique Mingle that was held on Saturday evening.
Additional copies of the study guide and DVD/CD can be purchased from the Office of Creative Ministries for only $10. You may purchase online at www.mzinitiative.com/learn