Missions Giving FAQ
Wow, 10% of the budget is given away! Where does all of this giving go? Is there a ‘funding formula’?
Is there a formula you ask? Well, yes and no – it goes something like this:
- Allegheny Conference: This disbursement is based on general guidelines from the conference and may change over time. In 2020, we paid $6,000 ($1,375 each quarter with an extra $500 congregation fee paid in the summer).
- Mennonite Organizations: Our giving to these organizations is done via Allegheny Conference but the specific organizations and amounts given (individually and in total) are determined by the deacons at WPMF. In 2020, we paid $4,500 ($1,125 each quarter) to four different Mennonite organizations. Note: Because this giving is done via the conference, this means that in 2020, we wrote quarterly checks to Allegheny Conference for $2,500, except in July when we paid $3,000 (or $10,500 annually).
- Core Missions: After you subtract our giving to Allegheny Conference/Mennonite Organizations, from the missions budget, the remaining amount is divided up as follows. If in the current year we are supporting 4 “core missions”, then the remaining mission’s budget will be split into 5 equal pieces. Four of these pieces will be used for the 4 core missions (one to be paid each quarter). In 2020, each core mission received $2,500 (there were only 3 core missions in 2020).
- Discretionary Mission Funds: The fifth part (hereafter referred to as discretionary mission funds) will be available for requests and distributions throughout the year.
So how did that process come about?
In our distant past, there was a missions committee whose purpose was to acquaint the congregation with ‘mission work’, annually determine organizations to be funded and amounts given and make sure that the full amount allocated in our budget for missions was spent (10% of the budget). This committee generally asked the congregation to suggest organizations that were ‘worthy of support’ and many organizations were supported, often for very small amounts. Giving was generally done at the end of the year. When this group disbanded, the congregation charged the deacons with this task and the deacons continued this process until 2009. In 2009 the deacons modified the process for the following reasons:
- They wished to simplify/standardize the giving allocation process.
- The donations were often quite small because of the request volume.
- They wanted to spread out our giving more evenly throughout the year.
At the 2009 budget meeting the current process was proposed and approved.
A core mission is any organization that the church decides is worthy of support and represents the church’s “core giving priorities”. Yes, this is a very fuzzy definition and there is room for improving it. There was also a stated desire to balance our giving between international and local organizations and some conversation about balancing physical need support and spiritual need support. In general, the desire was to pick 4 organizations and give to them in a more substantial way over the course of a year and to also make personal connections between the church and each organization that we fund, learning more about the organization being supported.
At each annual budget meeting in December, the core missions organizations for the new year are presented and generally approved, with changes being made if the congregation desires.
I would like to suggest another core mission. How do I do that?
This is discussed in the section below titled Help Shape the Missions Giving of WPMF
What organizations have been supported in the past as WPMF core missions?
Here is a history of organizations that WPMF has designated as core missions:
- Crossroads Community Center (local): 2018-2020
- Redemption Housing (local): 2017-2020
- POWER (local): 2014-2020
- New Sanctuary Movement (local): 2015
- Esperanza Health Center (local): 2015
- Heeding God’s Call (local): 2014
- Christian Peacemaker Teams (international): 2012-2016
- Philadelphia Mennonite High School (local): 2011-2014
- Project H.O.M.E (local): 2011-2013
- Mennonite Central Committee (international): 2011-2013
- Manohar (international); 2011
Tell me more about the current core missions and why they were selected?
- Crossroads Community Center (crossroadsphilly.org): Crossroads is a Christian organization located in the Fairhill section of North Philadelphia. It began in 1965 and has grown to include youth and social services for all neighborhood residents. Executive Director Pastor Juan Marrero, Chaplain Ron Muse, and others (including Rebecca Yugga and Fred Kauffman) have developed Crossroads into an outstanding and continuing presence of social and spiritual nourishment in their community.
- POWER (powerinterfaith.org): POWER works with faith communities in Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania to address local and statewide issues while simultaneously strengthening the life of our congregations. At the center of this faith-based community organizing efforts is the belief in potential transformation – of people, institutions, and our larger culture. This belief stems directly from the shared principles of faith communities and influences the way our leaders relate to public officials, to community members, and to one another. WPMF has been involved with POWER since 2011 when the organization was formed.
- Redemption Housing (redemptionhousing.org)A spiritual community seeking to address the cycle of recidivism through holistic programming and healthy relationships, bringing God’s healing and restoration to those affected by incarceration. WPMF has been a faith partner since the inception of this organization.
So we give a lot of money to Allegheny Conference: Why and how is this money used? Is this more than what we paid to Franconia Conference?
Yes, in 2020 (our first full year with Allegheny Conference), we will pay $6,000 to them. Yes, this is more than what we paid to Franconia ($3,500 when we left) and partially reflects the wealth that characterizes many of the churches of Franconia Conference as compared to those in Allegheny. Allegheny does ask each church for support but it is an amount that tries to reflect each congregation, so that a startup church with few resources can still be part of Allegheny Conference without facing steep dues. That means that wealthier churches will pay a bit more. In the context of Allegheny Conference, WPMF is one of the more wealthy congregations.
How is this money used? Like our church, much of their budget goes towards staffing but they also hold and promote conference events and support an international guest house in Washington DC.
I see that we give to the following Mennonite organizations: Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Mission Network, Mennonite World Conference and Racial & Ethnic Leadership Program. How were these organizations selected? Who determines how much each organization receives?
Historically, the deacons have decided which Mennonite organizations receive funding and the amount for which they are funded. In 2020, funds were distributed as follows; Mennonite Central Committee: $1,300, Mennonite Mission Network: $1,300, Mennonite World Conference: $1,100 and Racial & Ethnic Leadership: $800. The deacons chose these organizations many years ago and there has been little change over the years except the deacons have made adjustments to the amounts given based on changes in other parts of our missions giving. That said, there is always room for discussion about the organizations being funded and at what level. Speak to a deacon if you have questions or suggestions.
Another way to look at conference giving for 2020 is as follows:
|Allegheny Conference||$6,000.00||$1,375.00||Except in July when an extra $500 admin fee is due-billed separately|
|Mennonite Central Committee||$1,300.00||$325.00|
|Mennonite Mission Network||$1,300.00||$325.00|
|Mennonite World Conference||$1,100.00||$275.00|
|Racial & Ethnic Leadership||$800.00||$200.00|
|Total to Menno Orgs:||$4,500.00||$1,125.00|
|Total Sent To Conference:||$10,500.00||$2,500.00||+$500 in July|
Tell me about the Mennonite organizations that we support and the other “mission organizations” of the Mennonite Church.
One goal of this information is to educate folks concerning all of the Mennonite Church organizations, allowing individuals and the church to give to organizations that match our priorities. Note: An * before the name indicates an organization to which we are currently giving.
- Mennonite Mission Network (MMN): A small nonprofit enterprise, commissioned by Mennonite Church USA to lead, mobilize and equip congregations to join God’s reconciling work, so that God’s healing and hope flow to everyone in the world. They are stewards of long-term relationships with partners in more than 50 countries, and staffed with people experienced in cross-cultural communication and holistic witness. They endeavor to connect with people in mutually transforming relationships across cultures. Money contributed to the general fund goes to support many different areas of mission, including:
- International ministries that support both local partners and North American workers in leadership development and holistic witness around the world.
- Ministries in the United States, including missional preaching and teaching, training for local and global witness, church planting, and peace and justice ministries.
- Support services that care for workers, administer programs, maintain the financial and technical infrastructure, create resources for congregations, and get out the word to constituents about ways that God is working around the world.
- Voluntary service programs for all ages and abilities.
- *Mennonite Education Agency (MEA): An agency of Mennonite Church USA that walks alongside Mennonite educational institutions to provide resources, programming and support to Mennonite schools, empowering teachers and administrators to continue the life transforming work of Anabaptist Mennonite education. MEA ties church and school together with the intention of maintaining a mutually edifying identity, while working together to ensure students receive a quality Anabaptist Mennonite education. Gifts to MEA can be directed to: General Fund, Hispanic Ministries, *Racial/Ethnic Leadership Education or Mennonite Early Childhood Network.
- MennoMedia: An agency of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada that seeks to engage and shape church and society with resources for living Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective. We publish highly readable, thoughtful curricula and books that call readers to follow Jesus in word and deed. We publish resources about Christian discipleship, spirituality, reconciliation, justice, and theology from an Anabaptist perspective, and our products reach a broad spectrum of evangelical, mainline, and Anabaptist readers. Our MennoMedia curricula, periodicals, and hymnals reach congregations that share these same affinities, cultivating passion for faith formation and an active life of discipleship rooted in trusting God and following Jesus. Our Herald Press books support the spiritual life of Christians and inform thoughtful faith and action.
- Everence: The stewardship arm of Mennonite Church USA, helping people and institutions integrate their faith and values into their financial decisions to accomplish their stewardship goals.
- *Mennonite Central Committee (MCC): A global, nonprofit organization that strives to share God’s love and compassion for all through relief, development and peace, committed to relationships with local partners and churches. As an Anabaptist organization, we strive to make peace a part of everything we do. When responding to disasters we work with local groups to distribute resources in ways that minimize conflict. In our development work we plan with community and church groups to make sure the projects meet their needs. We advocate for policies that will lead to a more peaceful world.
- Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS): A volunteer network of Anabaptist churches dedicated to responding to natural and man-made disasters in Canada and the United States. Their aim is to assist the most vulnerable community members, individuals, and families who would not otherwise have the means to recover. MDS volunteers – men and women, youth and adults – provide the skills and labor needed to respond, rebuild and restore in the wake of a disaster.
- *Mennonite World Conference (MWC): MWC encourages member churches to commit to each other on the basis of Shared Convictions of theology and practice, as it nurtures solidarity through joint activities and communication among the members, promotes biblical and theological reflection by and among the members, accepts counsel from members for its life as a community, supports the member churches in ministry to the world, and facilitates relationships with other international Christian communities.
- Mennonite Health Services Alliance (MHS): A not-for-profit organization that supports Mennonite and other Anabaptist faith-grounded health and human service providers in their leadership and strategic direction. They work to expand the capacity of members, and to help them refine and enhance organizational performance in relationship to their values. To meet these goals, they provide resources and values-based consulting services to members and other not-for-profit, faith-grounded organizations.
You mentioned Discretionary Mission Funds. Tell me more about these.
As part of splitting up the Missions Budget (see first question), we allocated a portion of the missions budget to be used during the year, outside of the prescribed funds, to be allocated at the discretion of the deacons.
Requests for use of the discretionary mission funds can be made to the deacons at any time there is an identified need. Simply give the deacons a description of the organization, contribution information and an explanation of why you feel this organization should be funded and the deacons will decide whether to fund this organization and to what extent. If there are still funds available at the time we are planning the next year’s budget, the deacons will give the money away based on requests that have come into the office throughout the year via mail. Depending on the selection of viable organizations, the deacons may ask the church to identify further areas of need to which we might contribute.
Sometimes the church takes special offerings for a special need. Is this part of the mission’s budget/giving?
No. Sometimes church leadership becomes aware of a need where it is not appropriate to use the WPMF mutual aid fund or other funding sources and leadership decides to take it to the congregation, both to (re)acquaint them with an organization and to ask for special giving to that organization. In this case, WPMF is acting as a funnel, taking your special offering (designated as such in the memo line), pooling it with other gifts and then at some point closing down the fund request and sending the total along to the organization in need. An example of this in the recent past was our aid to the Kingdom Builders Emergency Fund as they reached out to their communities in need due to COVID issues.