Financing the AMEC Part2 : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Following the overwhelming response to Bro. Dickens questions (which I agree with) have we, among our more than 2 million members have no additional ideas for the economic empowerment of the AMEC and its Global Missions Program? We are to blessed with so many brilliant minds to have so few suggestions. Here's hoping for some stimulating responses.

God Bless You All

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001


May I make a suggestion? Bring your tithes and offerings to your local church and use it to minister to God's people in your area of the world. At the same time, render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's; pay the budget and asking levied by the AME Church and do not concern yourself with those things which are beyond your control. When Jesus returns, he will separate the wheat from the tares and set all things right. In the meantime, we must work the work of Him that sent us while it is day. Blessings,

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001

Dear Pastor Paris

Thank you for your suggestion. I am in agreement with you that this is one way to exercise our faith. I am challenged however because in the summary of the decalogue we are required to love God with all of our Heart, Soul and mind, and love our neighbour as ourselves.My emphasis is working to give God the greatest service of my mind and others. The Church has functioned primarily by the plate(offering) ever since its existance. The creation of the new Connectional Captive insurance company (see page 188 in the new Discipline) sets to change the way the Church does its business. We will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in due time. When seeking to introduce this to the Church I was told quite frankly don't try introducing these things in areas you cannot control. In short business (as usual) was working fine and there was no need for any new fangled approaches.

Rev. Paris I believe (like you) that we do not serve a business as usual kind of God. It was this faith that created the historic paradigm that is now the vehicle it is about to become. The creation of this company, thus far, has shattered the Episcopal process for any business in the Church. From February 2000 (a concept)to Church Law passed at General Conference in July is probably a record for most new programs for the Church. My difficulty is that other members who profit quite well from this business would not share this with their Church.

If we can make this business work and the creation of other finance programs work in addition to paying unto the Church that which it is due, then we will be able to do the work of God Better and truely press for the mark of the higher calling.These steps would help to remove issues like the one of part-time Ministry you raised recently as the Connectional Church would be financially empowered to make more proactive decisions with the financial clout to support them.We would be able to spend more on the critial missions and outreach the Church has need to do.We would be then able to support more student in their seminary studies. That is my desire in my service to God. If this is in line with your suggestion then I am pleased. I believe that we should dialogue with each discussion through constructive engagement and not destructively pull each other(and the work of the Lord)down to please selfish aims.

I appreciate your response and participation

May God richly bless you is my prayer

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2001

Bro. Bill Dickens proposed an excellent plan in a previous post. I am certain that if he were given permission by the AMEC that he could provide a more detailed strategy for the execution of this plan. As I recall, he suggested that in addition to sacrificial giving such as the tithes and offerings that a Mighty 1 million members of the AME church give a meager $185 dollars a year to a central fund in the AME church. An international organization of 3.5 million members is not going to be effective on its present anemic budget of $10 million dollars a year. It's amazing that the AMEC can do anything on such a paltry sum.

I live in a rural county of Richmond, Va. and the annual budget for my county is 75 million dollars a year for a population of 30,000 people. Quite frankly, this county provides very little services to the people. Now in the city of Richmond, Va. with its 197,000 people, the fiscal budget is 485 million dollars a year. Now, I know that the county and the city have tax revenues and other sources of investment income, nevertheless, theses monies are required for them to provide services.

So if the AMEC with its 3.5 million people wish to effect any sort of change such as providing scholarships, supporting schools, and spreading the gospel, it will definitely need a more robust budget than it has now. As I previously mentioned, some of us will spend $300 to $600 a year on car insurance just for peace of mind. We also hope that we will never need that insurance becuase we know that as soon we file a claim, our premiums will increase. So, where are the Mighty 1 million AME's out there who will be willing to send $185 a year to the national level to uplift our organization.?

Bro. Dickens, what does it take to implement your plan? Is there an avenue for AME members to submit a proposal of this nature to the bishops of the AME church? Are we as AME's going to talk about that walk or walk that talk?


-- Anonymous, October 03, 2001

Critical discussion about financing the work of the AMEC should be met head-on with a healthy dose of skepticism. Questions about greater accountability of current scarce resources, custodial responsibilities for my proposed Mighty Million Member plan and execution of the proposal, warrant clear and sensible answers. Allow me to tackle these concerns in a brief response.

Increased accountability is a benefit for the organization as a whole. I recommended several years ago that the AMEC should undertake a comprehensive review of its mission and organization by hiring a premier management consulting firm like McKinsey & Co., Peat, Marwick & Main or Andersen Consulting. This top-down review will unveil whether current accountability standards are inadequate and make sound recommendations for improvement, especially the "unaccounted table offerings".

Secondly, I propose that a third party be used as the custodial agent for the collection of secured funds. While I don't want to bore folks with the details, the agent would be responsible for disbursing 50% of the funds according to specific programmatic targets, e.g. foreign mission assistance to indigenous AME pastors and congregations, financing a law school @ one of our AME Colleges, building a hospital,Christian Eduation Dept.etc. No funds would be released for "superfluous spending". The other 50% would be invested as a permanent endowment. As an endowment only the interest income would be available for future use but not the basic principle. Each year the endowment would be raised according to the 50-50 division. This agent would ideally be a prominent black investment management company which assures financial neutrality and being bound by a rigid fiducial relation between the Mighty Million Members and the fund.

Execution of the proposal is based on two factors: One, consensus by the Bishops Council and Two, designing an incentive plan to recruit and retain the Mighty Million Members. While space limitations preclude me from outlining the proposal in its final form, this is the core of my recommendation. I intend to take my idea to the appropriate individuals. While I'm no obsequious servant to human leadership, I do respect and practice protocol.

I look forward to additional comments you may have. Many Thanks. QED

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2001

My suggestion really is the way God wanted His church finanaced. I, tongue in check, posted it as a suggestion because I thought you all would understand. QUESTION: If these systems you want the AME Church to try are so good, why don't you do it yourself outside the AME Church?


Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2001


I, for one, believe you are right on target. My District Lay Organization (P. E. District) is presently drafting legislation to include a proposal I made in a previous post of $50 per member per year (96 cents per week). This was based on a mere 2.5 million persons and would net $225,000,000 dollars a year or half a billion dollars per Quadrennial. We are also writing in the necessary checks and balances. Hopefully after going though the proper channels for legislation, it will be ready for consideration at he next General Conference. Frankly I don't see why both these plans can't work. I certainly would do both. In fact I would raise your proposal to $215 which would include 1787 to 2002. And yes, Rev. Paris, that would also include my tithes. But I feel we ought to do both tithes and offerings.

It is ludicrous and absurd to expect a worldwide organization the size of the A.M.E. Church, its schools, colleges, seminaries and other endeavors, to function on less than $12,000,000 a year. The budgets of any five large churches would exceed this amount. It is indeed a miracle that we do as much as we actually do with such a small amount. It is equally absurd to ask our bishops who--in a district the size of mine--are responsible for more than 500 churches, a college and a seminary to accept a salary of $55,000 when many of their pastors in the larger chruches are better paid.

We must rethink and redevelop these plans; and our proposals must be heard if we are to minister to the needs and responsibilities in the Twenty-first Century.

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2001

Dear Rev. Paris

I appreciate your suggestion. Page 188 of the new Discipline shows exactly your suggestion. The Church has agreed and made it Church Law for the incorporation and operation of a Connectional Captive Insurance Company. This program will save hundreds of thousand of Dollars for our Church and its programs.This project has come a long way in a short time and still I struggle to complete the work. But God will have his way in the end.

I am reminded of the story of Peter being the only one of the twelve who was prepared to get out of the boat and walk to Jesus. The others watched while he walked, sank,resurfaced and re-entered the boat with Jesus. I believe we must do more than just watch while Bro. Dickens suggests great ideas for Financing the AMEC. If these ideas and programs succeed they will increase your ability to Minister to your areas as we aim to increase ours in Bermuda and beyond. I believe we should be bold enough and faithful enough to set a theme to be implemented for the year 2002. 1 million members commit $202.00 Dollars and place this in our Church by whatever design the majority decide. I am prepared today to place $300.00 to this cause in addition to my regular tithes and offerings. I challenge all of us to match this for the Kingdom Building of God and the dynamic work needed from this Church.Anything less leaves our students suffering. Our laity bickering about proper qualifications. Our pastors struggling with Part-time and full time Ministry. Our presiding Elders trying to merge Churches that are not working and Bishops who must manage all of us. If it is a trust, bank account, investment vehicle or other source I am ready to send my $300.00. Is there anyone else interested??

Thank you Rev. Paris for your response and to all of you thus far I am grateful because it is important to have this discussion. We don't all have to agree but my prayer is that we can be of one accord in the furtherance of God's Kingdom.

May God Bless You All

-- Anonymous, October 04, 2001

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