Pastor (interviewing in front of a search committee): “I promise, if I am voted in as your pastor, that I will bring us into the 20th century.”
Committee Member: “Uh, preacher, don’t you mean the 21st century?”
Pastor: “Let’s take it one century at a time.”
Fortunately, when it comes to how we use our money, The United Methodist Church is in the 21st century. As a denomination, we give over $6 billion dollars of offerings per year (that’s $121 million dollars per Sunday!) and manage to combine our resources to reach out in ministry across the world.
How do we do it?
Through the World Service Fund. Designated in The Book of Discipline as “the first benevolent responsibility of the Church” (paragraph 812), this fund is used to pay the overhead expenses for outreach projects like building churches, paying salaries of missionaries, and providing leadership for youth ministries.
In Tokyo, the World Service Fund supports the active missionaries who responded quickly to the earthquake and tsunami crisis by finding shelter for the homeless and handing out Geiger counters to help keep families safe.
In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where 35% of the population lives in poverty, the WSF supports a missionary who is training young adults to be auto mechanics and welders (you can see this ministry in action by watching the video below).
A couple years ago my wife (Meg) and I had a great experience visiting with a group of youth and adults in Reutlingen, Germany, and with a group of students in Braunfels, Germany, who were considering becoming ordained ministers. We worshiped together, sang songs in English and in German (well, we tried), and talked about the good— and the challenging—things happening in our communities and countries. Prior to this trip, I had no idea that there were United Methodists in Germany.
This Easter season I am extremely grateful that, through the World Service Fund (and with the help of 12,000,000 United Methodist members around the world), we are part of a connectional giving system that gives us the 21st-century ability to build a youth group in Germany, alleviate poverty in Cambodia, or react quickly to a disaster in Japan. Good things happen when we work together.
All Easter offering donations will go to the United Methodist World Service Fund. If you did not receive an Easter offering envelope in the mail, they are available in the sanctuary pew racks or in the church office.
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