There are multiple ways that we can collaborate in mission; however, for this quinquennium, the top four would include financial visioning, consulting, training, and church policy.
To accomplish this important collaboration in our territory, there are four individuals on our treasury team who are committed to the mission and ministry that happens across our Union: Jermaine Jackson, Richard Moore, Vicki Thompson and Janna Quetz. As a team, we have the honor of daily managing the resources, entrusted to us, for the advancing of God’s Kingdom.
This report is one of three presentations that will be used to communicate to you as a constituent, the financial performance over the past quinquennium. This report will be the least complex and technical of the three presentations. My goal for this report is simply to share some key high points of our financial performance. On May 15, a PowerPoint presentation will be shared to cover greater technical aspects of our financial performance. Additionally, a full General Conference audited report will be provided which contains the highest level of detail in a technical accounting format for this past quinquennium.
The Lake Union receives nine percent of the total gross tithe returned by the members to the five local conferences, $31.3 million. Tithe was used for local programs and support (see graph B). The ministries receiving financial support include the following:
Total income and expenses this quinquennium are captured on graphs C and D (see next page). Our largest source of income is tithe received by the five local conferences with a quinquennium average of $6.7 million. The next major source of income is from the North America Division (NAD) appropriations for evangelism and education with a quinquennium average of $2.9 million. Total income was higher for 2019 and 2020 due to special appropriations and government funding. In 2019, extra funding was received from the General Conference (GC)/NAD, a total of $600 thousand, for the GC Session in Indianapolis. Additionally, $406 thousand was received in 2020 as stimulus funds from the federal government for COVID–19.
Total expenses decreased in 2018 due to open employment positions (full-time equivalent (FTEs)) and a special 1 percent of tithe that was returned to the local conferences for 2016 and 2017. This special 1 percent reversion back was done to encourage policy change at the NAD level that would allow the local conferences additional funding for mission and ministry. Total expenses for 2019 were higher due to full employment of FTEs; also, 2020 was higher due to a spend-down of LUC reserves ($295 thousand) for COVID-19 expenses at the local conference level.
The conservative approach to annual budgeting and financial management has enabled us during this quinquennium to maintain a strong net worth (see graph E). During this quinquennium, the operating losses for 2016 and 2017 were the result of reverting additional funds above policy to the local conferences for mission and ministry. The operating gains for 2018 through 2020 have been intentional to grow our reserves and future planning program commitments for evangelism and education curriculum (see graph F). For the years 2016 through 2019, LUC was building reserves to achieve 130 percent working capital as voted by the executive committee for financial strength and stability. The performance for 2020 was directly related to COVID-19 Payroll Protection Program funds from the federal government (see graph G).
For nearly 50 years, the Lake Union Revolving Fund (LURF) has been privileged to support the growth of ministry within the Lake Union territory. Funds for the Revolving Fund are generated by deposits from members, conference entities and earnings from investments. During this quinquennium, LURF has provided over $15 million to 73 churches and entities for various building and restoration projects.
At the end of 2020, total assets were $50,082,551 (see graph H), an increase of 12 percent from the previous quinquennium. Total Liabilities were $34,507,861 (see graph I), an increase of 4 percent over the same time period. With total net assets of $15,574,690 (see graph J), LURF has experienced an increase of 37 percent.
As a result of increased earnings on investments and efficient operations, LURF returned a total of $2 million in initial investments to the conferences in 2018 and 2020, providing conferences with greater funding for mission and ministry.
In summary, the Lord has truly showered His bountiful blessings upon our Union over this past quinquennium. Hebrews 10:35–37 (NKJV) states, Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: For yet a little while and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Our prayer is that God will find each one of us faithful as we commit ourselves to Him in service until the Lord’s second return. …Even so, come Lord Jesus! (Rev. 22:20 NKJV).
Glynn C.W. Scott is treasurer of the Lake Union Conference.