2. United Stewardship Fund
2000. The United Stewardship Fund is a unified budget for the financial support of designated General Church interests and the educational institutions. It shall consist of the following:
- (1) The General Fund, which shall provide support for General Church administration, general benevolent institutions, ministerial training, and other General Church ministries.
- (2) The Education Fund, which shall provide support for the approved general educational institutions as listed in 2365 and in a manner as set forth in 2040 (2377).
- (3) The Church Multiplication Fund, which shall provide continuing support for the planting of new churches, including the development of the leaders needed to serve in the new churches. The implementation of this fund shall be according to the General Board Policy for the Church Multiplication Fund. These funds shall be designated for church multiplication in accordance with this policy, which allows for the discretion of the district where the funds were given.
2005. The General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund shall be determined annually by a percentage (2005:2) of the base income of all churches for the previous fiscal year which shall be computed in the following manner (2005:3):
- (1) Base Income. The base income shall be the total of a local church’s receipts of tithes and offerings given without restriction for the work of the church (465; 470).
- (2) Fund Allocations.
- (a) The percentages for determining the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund shall be fixed by the General Conference (1590:8). The percentage in each case shall be applied to the assessable income as defined in 2005:1 except as provided for in 2005:3, 4.
- (b) In the event of an emergency during the interim of General Conference sessions, the General Board may alter the percentages of the General Fund by a two-thirds majority vote of all its members (1655:23).
- (3) Limits for Capped Churches.
- (a) Assessment Limits and Maximum. By Conference Year 2026, all churches shall be subject to full assessment on all assessable income up to $550,000. Above that level, there shall be a graduated reduction in the percentage applied. For that portion of a church’s assessable income between $550,000 and $1,100,000, there shall be a reduction of one in the total percentage divided proportionately between the General Fund, the Church Multiplication Fund, and the Education Fund. For that portion between $1,100,000 and $2,200,000, there shall be a reduction of two in the total percentage divided proportionately between the three funds. The percentage in each case shall be applied to the same base income as defined in 2005:1 subject to the exceptions set forth in 2005:4a, b.
- (b) Annual Rate. The General Board shall set and publish the annual rate for capped churches based on the increase or decrease of consumer price indices for the previous year or 3 percent, whichever is less.
- (4) Exceptions for Developing and Urban Churches.
- (a) Developing Church Exception. Whenever a developing church is deemed, by the district board of administration, to be under financial duress, that board may subtract up to $50,000 from the USF base income used to calculate the USF obligation.
- (b) Urban Missional Church Exception. Whenever a local church is designated as an urban missional church, the USF obligation for that church shall be set at 25 percent of the regular assessment (523).
c. District and Local Regulations
2015. District Responsibility. Each district and developing district, with the exception of the work under the Global Partners Division, shall be responsible to raise its share of the United Stewardship Fund, including the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund in accordance with the following regulations:
- (1) District Obligation. The obligation of a district or developing district shall be an amount equal to the designated percentage of the total base income, as defined in 2005:1-2, of all developing churches and churches of the district, subject to such exceptions and adjustments as are indicated in 2005:3. When this amount has been paid in full to the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer, for the General Fund, the Education Fund, and designated monies set aside in the district Church Multiplication Fund a district has met its obligation to the United Stewardship Fund. The computations for the district obligation shall be based on the financial reports of the local churches as compiled by the district statistical committee (1337:6) prior to the annual district conference.
- (2) District Apportionment. The district conference shall apportion its total obligation among the local churches under its jurisdiction by assigning an amount to each as its share of the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund respectively, under whatever plan the district conference shall adopt after receiving a recommendation from the district board of administration (1233:11; 1337:6). Each local church shall be promptly notified of the amount assigned by the district by the person appointed by the district superintendent. The district treasurer shall promptly notify the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer of the district obligation on forms provided by the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer (1337:6).
- (3) District Administration. The district board of administration shall be responsible to administer the district plan for raising the United Stewardship Fund and shall be responsible to see that the district obligation is paid in full for the General Fund, Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund (1233:10). All General and Education Fund monies received by the district treasurer shall be remitted monthly to the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer via the approved process.
2025. Local Church Responsibility. The pastor and the local board of administration shall be responsible for the faithful collection of the amount assigned by the district to their church, and shall raise it on the undivided plan. The local church treasurer shall forward all money received for the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund monthly to the district treasurer (842:4). A local church has met its obligation to the United Stewardship Fund when it has paid in full to the district treasurer the amounts assigned to it by the district for the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund. In a developing church, the pastor and the local advisory council shall have the responsibility for raising the United Stewardship Fund.
2030. Developing District Responsibility. The obligation of a developing district, or of the churches within a developing district, to the United Stewardship Fund shall be determined by the General Board (1655:23). The assigned obligation shall be raised by the superintendent of the developing district, under the direction of the Executive Director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship and in accord with the General Board Policy for the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division.
d. General Church Regulations
2035. General Fund: Beneficiaries and Apportionment. The General Fund shall provide support for General Church divisions and ministries and be apportioned among them as follows:
- (1) Beneficiaries. The designated beneficiaries to receive support from the USF-General Fund are: the administrative offices of the General Superintendent and the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer; the Executive Director of the Communication and Administration Division, the Executive Director of the Education and Clergy Development Division, the Executive Director of the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division, and the Executive Director of the Global Partners Division, and such other benevolent institutions, offices, or agencies of the General Church as the General Conference or the General Board shall designate from time to time.
- (2) Apportionment. The apportioning of the General Fund among the designated beneficiaries (2035:1) shall be determined annually by the General Board.
2040. Education Fund: Beneficiaries and Apportionment. The Education Fund shall provide support for educational institutions and general ministerial education, and shall be apportioned among them as follows:
- (1) Beneficiaries. The beneficiaries receiving support from the Education Fund shall include the educational institutions (2365); approved programs for subsidizing ministerial training; the Wesleyan Seminary Foundation (2382); and the Ministerial Study Course Agency (2385-2388).
- (2) Apportionment. The General Board shall determine the apportionment of the Education Fund among the beneficiaries listed in 2040:1.
2045. General Promotion and Administration. The General Superintendent’s office shall promote the raising of the United Stewardship Fund. The General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer shall cooperate with the General Superintendent’s office in such promotion and shall administer the USF funds as provided for in The Discipline and as directed by the General Board (1976).