Pioneer UMC in Auburn anticipates being at 100 percent of their 2016 conference tithe by the end of December. "This represents an amazing transformation," says the Rev. Dave Samelson, Great Northern District Superintendent. Three years ago Pioneer UMC was severely in the red financially and unable to pay practically any of their conference tithe. "The church also had to move from their pastor being full-time to three-fourths time," says Samelson.
Samelson says, "The church had a long and proud history of always paying 100 percent of their apportionments/tithe, so their tough predicament was especially painful." The church asked the Conference if they could increase their conference tithe giving in steps over a three year period. During that time they also planned to move from their pastor being three-fourths time back to full-time. The plan was agreed upon.
The Rev. Gary McAnally, pastor of Pioneer UMC, and the church worked hard over the last two years to increase stewardship and to budget appropriately. He says, "the church had taken major cuts in programs and expenses before I was appointed." We focused on loving one another and keeping a focus on the reasons we gathered to worship. Over time a new energy and passion for serving the Lord emerged. That energy and passion led to growing stewardship across the church family.
Now, just two years into their three year plan, they have returned to full-time for their pastor, and they will be at 100 percent of their conference tithe by the end of the year.
McAnally says that realizing both of their goals has created a wonderful new energy in the church, as they have moved from seeing themselves as “fractured” to being “whole again."