Martha Bowman UMC Wisely Invests God’s Money

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The Rev. Mark Magoni has served as senior pastor of Martha Bowman UMC in Macon since 2018. He is honored to be in ministry with his wife, the Rev. Fran Magoni, who has served as associate pastor at Martha Bowman UMC for five years. In September 2020, this clergy couple experienced first-hand the depth of the congregation’s faithfulness when he tested positive for COVID-19 and spent four days in the hospital battling pneumonia.

In this Q&A, the Rev. Mark Magoni provides insight into this caring and generous family of faith and why Martha Bowman UMC wisely invests its surplus funds with the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.

Q. What would you like folks to know about Martha Bowman UMC?
Magoni: It’s a church that is truly alive and cares for one another and our community. It’s a praying church, a mission-minded church, and a very generous church that supports many ministries. Fran and I are so grateful for its heritage, great pastors, and multiple generations who have served the Lord before us. This church has been a beacon of light since the 1820s, where people get hope and healing, grow in their faith, and love others. Our traditional and contemporary services are uplifting, positive, and full of joy. It’s a time to celebrate, honor and encounter our living God.

Q. How does Martha Bowman UMC live out its mission to save the lost, disciple the saved, and alleviate suffering?
Magoni: We do missions locally, nationally, and internationally. From the Salvation Army to Loaves and Fishes, there is a long list of ministries and agencies we support. Our folks are always out in the community helping and serving – even during COVID. We have a backpack ministry and support our local schools. Our Saintly Stitchers make beautiful quilts for The Methodist Children’s Home. One member, Max Wood, chairs the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, which ministers to Christian refugees from Iraq who live in Jordan. I went there in September and also in October 2019. We have invested financially in businesses like chicken farms to help these families who have been persecuted for their faith.

Q. How does the church seek to secure its financial future?
Magoni: God is the one who secures it for us, but we truly need to be wise in our use of God’s resources that’s in line with the ethics of the church. We always need to be generous. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”

Q. Why did the church decide to invest its surplus funds?
Magoni:  A couple of years ago, a member approached me about people having a place to give their wealth upon their departure from this life to the next. Our finance committee was all for it. The Methodist Foundation is the first place I looked. Then with COVID, everything shut down. After Dr. Rick Lanford (GUMF regional vice president) came on board, I mentioned we needed help. We knew we wanted to invest the funds wisely and not just have it sit in a bank. We also knew we didn’t want an endowment account if we needed to pull the money out. Rick did a presentation, and everybody on our finance committee chose to invest in GUMF’s Multiple Asset Fund.

Q: Why did the church entrust its funds to GUMF?
Magoni: We believe in the ministry of GUMF, like the returns they provide, and that they are investing in the kingdom and supporting and building the church of Jesus Christ. We also believe it is important to partner with agencies that have a like-minded mission to that which the church has been called to fulfill. It gives us peace of mind that our extra resources are in a safe place that are helping other churches, organizations, and individuals in the kingdom. So, with our resources, we are blessing others.

Q. What are the church’s financial objectives?
Magoni: Our goals are to be faithful with the Lord's resources, always use them to advance His Kingdom, and do good and not harm.

Q. Why is investing in a socially responsible manner so important?
Magoni: The money we are investing has been entrusted to us, but was given to the Lord to do His work in the world. So, we are stewards of those contributions and should use them in ways that honor Him and reflect His purposes.