Exiting Congregations Face Hefty Price Tag



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Exiting church are not Wesleyan in ecclesiology.

When Wesley was having the first Methodist building under construction his lawyer asked in whose name shall the building be placed. Wesley said the congregation. But the lawyer said that would mean that they could vote to keep you out of the pulpit. No! Wesley said then to put it in the name of the Connextion (Conference). So independent congregations owning their own buildings was was not a part of Methodism from its beginning. Soo, an independent congregation can hire and fire its pastor like any other employee. Wesleyan ecclesiology has never been congregationalism. Of course there are some Congregational Methodist churches, but not as a part of mainstream UMC.

Larry Robertson more than 2 years ago


Solution. Tithe on your gross income. I have since 1979. Problem solved

Richard F Hicks more than 2 years ago

Pension obligation

I would like to see a little more transparency on these calculations. If a church has been faithfully paying its apportionments for years how could it still owe even more for pension benefits? If the Annual Conference has decided not to fully fund its pension obligations why should that come back on churches that have been paying their full freight? The exit plan is looking more like an extortion racket. Put the price tag too high and people will simply leave. Then see what happens to the unfunded pension liability.

Kevin more than 2 years ago

Where do we pay?

I’m pretty sure my congregation could raise that amount in a week and would gladly do so if it meant putting an end to the acrimony now known as the UMC

John more than 2 years ago

Please proceed


George Nioxn Shuler more than 2 years ago


$30,000,000 divided by 586 is $51,195. That doesn't seem like some insurmountable number.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago


of those 586 churches, you might have a significant number who are tiny and only have part time appointments. They might not even be expected to pay into the pension plan, as their preachers might not be eligible.

Then you might have a number of very large churches with 2-5 pastors on staff. Imagine if you had 4 pastors - that's a MINIMUM of 200k based on your calculations, but reasonably (see above re: small churches) could be 5x as much. Fund a million dollars in order to exit - oh, and you don't get to keep your pastors if you do that.

JR more than 2 years ago

Worth every penny

Leaving the dysfunction known as the UMC would be worth every penny.

John more than 2 years ago

I know my former church couldn't afford that

Budget is tight. For a moderate church (membership is a couple hundred), even just 50k to clear the pension (disregarding apportionment frontloading), the church would either have to fire staff or do significant additional fundraising.

And leaving the UMC means almost assuredly losing your pastor(s). Unless they are of an age where they can retire from the UMC and then join your new unaffiliated church, then you aren't going to be able to keep them.

JR more than 2 years ago


I’m quite sure there are plenty of Traditionalist pastors who wouldn’t mind leading a Traditionalist congregation

John more than 2 years ago

A good thing

Based on the majority being theologically-liberal or progressive leaning losnig your pastor is probably a positive step.

Jeff more than 2 years ago