TELFORD METHODIST CIRCUIT. SHARES SYSTEM PROPOSAL. Shares Systems.
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SHARES SYSTEM PROPOSAL
A number of Circuits operate a "share" system whereby the agreed budget is divided into shares of, say, £50. Each Church is annually invited to decide on the number of shares they might contribute in the light of their own circumstances and the needs of the Circuit.
The advocates of the share system feel that it more faithfully reflects the concept of Christian giving developed by St Paul in 2 Corinthians 8 - thankfully, in proportion to the resources held and as part of our belonging to God's people.
How the system operates
1. The Circuit Treasurer produces the Budget for the next financial year and presents it to the March Circuit Meeting.
2. If the meeting accepts the budget then the increase from the previous year is divided into £50 shares. For instance a budget increase of £7,000 would mean 140 shares.
3. Over the next few months each Church Council considers the needs of the circuit and its own financial situation. The Church Council will then prayerfully agree by how many shares it can increase its circuit assessment. The starting point is normally last year’s amount. Whilst the system doesn’t normally allow for a reduction in circuit assessment it does allow for a zero increase
4. The Church Council will normally give the treasurer a mandate to offer between x and y number of shares.
5. The Circuit Shares meeting is normally held in early July after the Church Councils have met in June. Each church must be represented (normally by the treasurer). The sending in of bids is not allowed. The Circuit Meeting can make rules relating to the shares to be paid by churches not attending!!
6. At the shares meeting there can be a time of discussion about the financial needs of the circuit and the local churches. Each representative then submits a slip of paper indicating the number of extra shares that their church is willing to pay in the next financial year. These are counted up and if sufficient shares have been obtained the meeting ends. If there are insufficient shares then there is another round of offers. This continues until sufficient funds are realised.
7. If sufficient funds are not available then the budget previously agreed by the circuit meeting comes into question. The churches together need to take responsibility for reducing the budget, which normally means a reduction in staffing levels. This is often not possible for the next financial year and so the budget would be referred back to the September Circuit Meeting.
8. In some circuits the number of shares offered by the churches is not announced. This reflects individual giving which is a matter between the giver and God. Other circuits announce the results but the danger is that churches then compare their offer with a church of a similar size. This could be counter to the ethos of the system.
9. Individual members of the circuit may wish to purchase shares
Introducing the System
1. The Telford Circuit Meeting has agreed to explore the possibility of introducing a Shares System
2. A presentation delivered at the Circuit Management Meeting on Thursday 21st November will then be taken to the churches for explanation and discussion.
3. During the period up to the March Circuit Meeting churches will have the opportunity to consider the system.
4. The March 2014 Circuit Meeting will then make a decision whether or not to adopt the scheme.
The scheme may need to be adapted to suit our own situation and the following questions may need to be answered.
1. What if a church feels that its starting point for the first year is too high?
2. What if a church year on year fails to increase its shares quota?
3. What happens if it is felt that a church is not really entering into the ethos of the scheme?
There is no complicated formula system needed to work out the assessment.
Churches can make new members without the fear of being taxed for them.
The assessment increase is not imposed upon a church and therefore the church cannot grumble!
A spirit of mutual responsibility is generated within the circuit