07.2 - The Local Church Report

by Scott Selman

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ…
1 Corinthians 12:12 (NRSV)

The Conference statistician’s report is published annually in the Conference Journal, and includes membership and financial information for every local church in the North Alabama Conference. The report also summarizes membership and financial data by district and Conference levels.

The information included in the statistician’s report is obtained from the Local Church Report, an annual report prepared by each church. Copies of the Local Church Report form, and instructions for completing the report, are distributed to all pastors near the end of each calendar year.  

The Local Church Report  helps our denomination identify trends in membership, attendance, and giving; compare itself with other mainline denominations; and stay connected. The Local Church Report also affects local church Conference budget askings (apportionments).

Membership and financial information in the Local Church Report that affects Conference budget askings includes:

  • Line   9 – Total Full Members at the Close of the Year
  • Line 69 – Diaconal Minister/Deacon Total Compensation
  • Line 70 – Other Staff Total Compensation
  • Line 71 – Program Expenses
  • Line 72 – Operating Expenses

Line 9 is the local church’s official membership at the end of the year.  

Lines 69 and 70 include compensation expenses of diaconal ministers, deacons, and lay employees. However, compensation expenses for any church employees that are paid by funds outside of the local church’s annual budget funded by tithes and offerings should not be reported in Lines 69 and 70. For example, do not include day care workers in who are paid entirely from funds paid by the parents of children who attend the day care program. Also, do not include compensation expenses in for itinerating pastors appointed by the Bishop in either of these lines.

Program expenses reported on Line 71 include amounts disbursed for nurture, outreach, and witness ministries (see ¶¶252.1 and 2 in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church); age-level, family, and specialized ministries; and other local church program structures. Do not include local church benevolences on this line.  

Line 72 includes operating expenses such as office expense, property maintenance and insurance, and church utilities.

Note:  Conference budget askings are not adjusted if there are errors in the local church report, so it is important to double check each amount reported.

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