Empowering Christian Leaders Through Training


Improving the financial health of our clergy and churches is a top priority of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation. Two bishops and four lay leaders share how our Wills Clinics, Legacy Ministry Training Program and soon-to-be-launched Clergy Financial Literacy Academy help to make this vision a reality.


Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, Resident Bishop
The North Georgia Conference, Atlanta

"The new GUMF Clergy Financial Literacy Academy speaks to a deep need. When pastors feel confident in their own financial literacy, they are more effective with their personal finances and more effective leading their churches through important financial decisions. I feel confident that every pastor will find the materials useful. Study groups will lead to greater sharing of useful experiences and new ideas. Pastors can learn financial tools and techniques to be stronger leaders in their churches."

Ernestine Garey, Legacy Endowment Giving Ministry Chair
Ben Hill UMC, Atlanta

“Two highly successful Wills and Beneficiary Workshops led by GUMF provided our members with valuable information on the importance of preparing for the final stages of life. Everything from will preparation to advance directives and beneficiary designations was covered. This along with personal testimonies resonated with attendees, and members left committed to their next steps. I thank GUMF for their leadership and commitment to growing this important ministry as we consider our lives and the legacies we want to leave.”

Mike Carter, Legacy Ministry Training Team Chair
Lizella UMC, Lizella

“Our leadership enrolled in GUMF’s Legacy Ministry Training Program to improve our church’s efficiency and to provide for the long-term financial stability of our church. We are an older congregation with an average age of 60 to 65. By establishing an endowment fund and holding Wills Seminars down the road, we hope to educate our congregation on estate planning, new ways of giving to our church, and how gifts of assets such as stocks can be used to provide tax breaks while enabling our church to focus more on helping people in the community and around the world.”

Bishop R. Lawson Bryan, Resident Bishop
The South Georgia Conference, Macon

“I am enthusiastic in my support for GUMF’s Clergy Financial Literacy Academy. In his book, “Money, Sex, and Power,” Richard Foster speaks of these as the three great realities of life. How we handle them will write the story of our lives. How do we get a handle on personal finances and on church finances? This new academy will enable our pastors to have a greater level of confidence in their own stewardship and in the leadership of their churches. The small group setting will allow more senior pastors to share their experiences. Newer pastors will learn the tools and resources for effective decision making and financial leadership in their churches. This can become one of the unique strengths of our annual conference.”

Les Arent, Endowment Committee Chair
Christ UMC, Warner Robins

“GUMF’s Legacy Ministry Training Program is helping Christ UMC establish an endowment fund to ensure our legacy and the future of our church. GUMF also held a Wills Seminar for members interested in learning about the benefits of creating a will as well as giving to our endowment fund. It was very worthwhile, especially for folks who have lost family members. One member expressed interest in naming our church as a beneficiary of their life insurance policy. We were also able to help one member in her 70s who had never had a will.”

Jim McSpadden, The Bridge Foundation Chair
Stockbridge First UMC, Stockbridge

“We started thinking about legacy giving after we lost several members. One woman donated her home to our church. Although her gift was put to good use, it didn’t generate funds year after year like an endowment. GUMF’s Legacy Ministry Training Program offered the best resources to get us off to a good start. Their training brings together people from different backgrounds and financial strengths. Our next focus is helping people get their wills and estates in order. As people give to our Foundation, we are looking forward to using their gifts to help our congregation and the community.”

This article was originally published in the Georgia United Methodist Foundation's 2017 Annual Report.