Annual Conference Report
The Management Group is a separate corporation created to hold, manage, and leverage the conference assets for the benefit of ministry expansion in the FMCSC and reports to the Board of Administration. As with all Free Methodist Church leadership, the board is composed of an equal number of ministerial and lay (non-ordained) leaders. We seek to build the kingdom by creating a sustainable flow of resources for the FMCSC – Our goal is to have the endowment fully fund the Conference including finances for the Kingdom Management Group to provide funding for church plants as well as other ministry opportunities. When we reach our goal of 100% funding, all monies that we receive from our assessments would go to ministry and kingdom expansion. At this point we are at 70% of full funding. Further, the health of our finances directly impacts the local church as it relates to providing the best loan packages from the Free Methodist Foundation (FMF).The Management Group manages a few types of resources.
Capital investment Endowment
For this we use Alex Brown & Co with the oversight of the Conference. This includes how much cash we hold and where monies go for investment. Each year our investments perform extremely well and we take a position that is designed for long term decision making. During COVID we were able to continue that trend in our investments even while receipts of the local church assessments dipped substantially due to decreased church attendance and engagement. For the beginning of 2022 we have seen some market adjustments and inflation as you are certainly aware of right now. Anytime receipts or investments dip we adjust expenses accordingly. We are happy to say that even with these dips in the market, over the long haul we have performed very well, around 8-9 percent a year. We will certainly realize losses at times (as with any investment) but with our long term strategy we are able to weather market fluctuations and often, though not guaranteed, outperform the market.
Property Management & Loans
This portion of the Management Group assesses both the value and the earning potential of each property we manage as well as being a resource for churches managing their own properties. Some properties become so much to manage that it is most prudent to sell the asset and include it in the endowment capital investment fund. Other properties continue to need upgrades and repairs which we do in order to maximize our monetization of those properties through rental income. Some of those rents come from church rental and others come from other institutions such as schools etc. We also use an invaluable consulting service to do market research, provide access to construction vendors for bids and repairs and to broker sales and acquisitions. Over time we have assumed responsibility for several church related properties which are not now true churches such as pastoral residencies, private schools located on former church properties and currently vacant former church buildings.
At this time we maintain several loans we service for the local churches. Over time, however, we will be transferring these loans to the Free Methodist Foundation since loan management is outside the scope of the mission of the Conference. It’s because of this that it is imperative to maintain a healthy endowment so the local church has access to the most competitive rates for loans since the Conference is ultimately responsible to cosign on all outstanding loans for all our churches despite who the lender may be.
We also provide certain management services such as bookkeeping and property management assessment for the local churches in the FMCSC.
In summary, The Management Group, with frequent dialog with the FMCSC Board of Administration, will continue to manage our assets to provide the best returns so that we can fund our Conference and subsequent ministry expansion well into the future.
Respectfully submitted by John Rittenhouse