Two UMFA Grants Help Develop Clergy and Laity Leadership

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (January 25, 2016) –The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas recently awarded a $9,000 grant to send a group of clergy to the Academy of Faith and Money and a $15,000 grant to send worship teams to the FUSION Conference as a part of the UMFA Grants Committee’s commitment to building leadership.

"The UMFA continues to be committed to developing faithful and fruitful clergy leaders for the Arkansas Conference by supporting life-long learning for pastors in local churches,” said Rev. Dede Roberts, Director of the Center for Vitality of the Arkansas Conference. “The Center for Vitality is grateful for the generosity and innovative spirit of the Foundation.”  

The grant for the Academy of Faith and Money will allow eight pastors in their first 10 years of ministry to receive expert training in raising and shepherding funds for mission and ministry. These are skills not often addressed in seminary training but are increasingly important as pastors lead their congregations into the mission field and make new disciples who must be taught the spiritual practices of generosity and tithing, according to Roberts.  

The pastors who attend the Academy will be expected to work with the laity of their churches to develop a financial plan for their congregation and will be eligible to receive coaching through the Center for Vitality as they implement their plan.  

“We are pleased to help sharpen leadership skills among those who attend both these conferences, and we expect their newly acquired knowledge to be shared with their own congregations and beyond,” said Jim Argue, Jr., UMFA President and CEO.  

The second grant will allow worship teams from some larger congregations to attend the first ever United Methodist conversation on contemporary worship. FUSION is an experiment by Discipleship Ministries that will bring together scholars and practitioners to encourage United Methodists in new forms and practices of worship in the 21st century.

The Arkansas Conference team of pastors and laity attending FUSION will be reporting back to the Foundation, the Center for Vitality and Discipleship Ministries for developing future events to help churches improve and innovate worship services which speak to an increasingly diverse mission field. 

The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas manages $135 million in endowment funds and other charitable assets that benefit local churches and other United Methodist ministries. UMFA is one of the largest United Methodist Foundations in the country. Founded in 1963, UMFA is responsible for over 750 funds that support United Methodist ministries.