Connectional Ministries Director Jim Bushfield said the conference is moving to support more congregational ministries concerns and moving away from funding ministry projects. He said new conference ministries to congregations needs to be reasonable, responsible and achievable.
Priorities on connection ministries will be a collective reduction in both salary and personnel. Part of the new way of ministry is financial. Connectional Ministries sees its goal as to provide resources and opportunities for congregations to be connected to their communities. In the current conferences’ budgets, more than $1 million is pass through funds from congregations to conference supported ministries. Bushfield said conference directors envision a leaner budget with less “pass through” funding of ministries related to the conference such as campus ministry which is a $250,000 reduction from the two previous conference connectional ministries program budgets from $1.3 million to $300,000.
Bushfield said ministries supported by congregations are being funded at ten times more than conference funded ministries. “Local churches are already doing ministry and mission funding ten to one times more than the conference,” he said.
Significant cuts in the connectional ministries budget are in campus ministry and mission advocacy. The proposed connectional ministries 2010 budget will include $200,000 for emergency funding.
Bushfield said even though campus ministries are large and significant programs, we need to fund them in new ways closer to the schools. “Today, all of our communities have some form of campus ministry. Education has changed and we must change to meet the needs,” he said.
The funding for the new Indiana Conference is based on the conference tithe (10 percent of each month’s congregations’ income) and one percent used for district finances.