At the 2014 Annual Conference, the Foundation shared significant accomplishments, including a challenge to delegates, pastors, and churches.
Triple your gift for education
During recent months, the Foundation has been hard at work raising financial support for the Pastor Education Fund, a scholarship endowment designed to alleviate the debt burden on future United Methodist pastors. The goal is $1 million.
During the Foundation’s report to delegates, Chairman Bob Long of the Foundation board reported that, to date, the Foundation has received nearly $400,000 from churches and individuals for the Pastor Education Fund. The largest of those gifts is $50,000 from Alva UMC.
Rev. Dr. Long celebrated the Alva church, then challenged every Oklahoma church to take up a special offering for this much-needed fund.
He announced how every $1 donated for this cause will be tripled.
Two generous families have offered to match gifts made to the Pastor Education Fund. The Milburn Family of Shawnee and the Small Family of Tulsa will each match every gift given, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million.
Thus the Pastor Education Fund can rise to $3 million, tripling its goal, helping more pastors!
Long spoke fervently of the need to invest in the seminary education of bright and talented clergy candidates. Many new pastors graduate from seminary with $50,000 or more in student loan debt. This is in addition to any debt incurred during undergraduate studies. The overall amount of student loans that pastors bear upon completing seminary is unmanageable, especially for a younger pastor in the first years of ministry.
And such potential debt load often deters other young people from going into full-time pastoral ministry.
Join with these generous families in supporting our pastors. Make your gift to the Pastor Education Fund. Call the Foundation at 800-259-6863 or visit the Foundation’s website, www.okumf.org, to make your gift or to find more information.
ARISE helps churches find their purpose
Another highlight of the Foundation’s report was an update on ARISE, a revitalization program for the local church.
As communities change, local churches may struggle to remain connected to the needs of that community. ARISE walks churches through three components: prayer, purpose, and people. The components address the church’s mission, pastoral and leader care, demographics, small groups, guests, and personal finances.
Several churches are participating in ARISE.
A training session for pastors and church leaders will be held in July at the Foundation office. To sign up or for more information, contact Mike Wiley, 800-259-6863, firstname.lastname@example.org.
VIM mission trip winner
The Foundation strives to strengthen the ministry of the local church in all endeavors. At the Foundation’s Annual Conference booth, delegates received materials about the Foundation’s services as well as signed up to win a $1,000 voucher to be used for any Volunteers In Mission trip. The winner of the $1,000 voucher is Wilma Fullerton from Alfalfa United Methodist Church! Congratulations, Wilma!
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