April News, 2023


The Dream Finance Team-

Rev. Dr. Sherry Parker-Lewis

The first months of a newly appointed pastor are filled with “getting acquainted” activities. Pastors work to memorize names. They also become familiar with church systems, from worship planning to leadership structure to outreach programming. Church finance is also an essential focus area for pastoral leaders. While seeking understanding of the church’s financial policies, budget and giving practices may not seem like a pressing need, pastors can learn about a church’s values, ministry and faith practices through a review of church finances.
What are the questions that a pastor may ask and what information might church leaders provide to assist a pastor in understanding their church’s finances?

Grants Announcement-

Wayne C. Barrett Steward Leader Award

One of our favorite times of the year is scholarship and grant season. we love recognizing excellence and helping clergy leaders thrive. This year’s applications were at an all time high for this award.
Congratulations to the following churches for being named as a Wayne C. Barrett Steward Leader We are excited to recognize and reward your outstanding generosity and stewardship:

Crystal Falls Christ UMC, Rev. Vicky Prewitt

Green Street/Hastings UMC, Rev. Bryce Feighner

Milwood UMC, Rev. Billie Dalton

Traverse City Central UMC, Rev. Chris Lane

Stay tuned for future stories regarding the individual churches and their quests for cultures of generosity.

Quit Reporting and Start Visioning-

Rev. Gary Step

Did you ever notice that the majority of a typical council meeting’s time consists of reporting past events? Too often, visioning is not on the agenda because we are bogged down in day-to-day ministry efforts.  
In addition, decisions are often made at a glacial pace, if they are made at all! In one church I was working with it took six months of multiple meetings with the church council, trustees, and finance to change the paint color in the nursery! You may be familiar with the multiple steps that can slow effective decision making: You need the trustee’s approval… now off to finance . . . and then back to the council for final approval! Ugh! I am drained just thinking about it. 
This structure is often referred to as “we have always done it this way.” When I asked how it was working at the church with the unpainted nursery, they stated, “It isn’t.” They were stuck with a structure that worked at one time but ceased being effective years ago. The current consensus-based structure in many churches has become so convoluted that no one is sure who can make decisions. This gives rise to questions like, “Who gave you the authority to do this?” Pastors find it frustrating to lead in this type of environment.  


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