The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board today (April 25) approved a revised 2014 General Assembly Mission Budget and proposed budgets for 2015 and 2016 that PMA Chief Financial Officer Earline Williams said reflect “known factors such as increased health care costs, declining membership resulting in less per capita income and declining contributions from congregations and presbyteries.”

Upon recommendation of its Finance Committee, the board approved a revised 2014 budget of $79,946,530, a decrease of $2.6 million from the budget approved in February. The budget adjustments represent a reduction in anticipated unrestricted giving from $8 million to $6.6 million, a reduction in spending to roughly 2013 levels and a reduction in the World Mission contingency expenses of $1 million.

The revised budget reduces the anticipated draw on the Presbyterian Mission Program Fund ― the unrestricted cash reserve ― by $1.2 million.

The budgets for 2015 and 2016 ― which will go to the upcoming 221st General Assembly for its approval ― total $73,671,744 and $78,226,389 respectively. The higher budget for 2016 reflects budgeted income and expenses related to the 2016 Presbyterian Youth Triennium.

“We are making no strategic shifts at this time,” said PMA Executive Director Linda Valentine ― who was elected to a third four-year term April 23, pending confirmation by the upcoming 221st General Assembly in June. “We’re on a good course, living into our missional directions.”

Valentine said that “in the aggregate we’re leveling off but still have work to do.” She outlined the process by which the current budget decisions were made, measuring programs against the 2013-2016 Mission Work Plan to determine which have “high alignment and high impact” in the plan.

Ten programs have been identified as high budget priorities:

  • “1001 New Worshiping Communities”
  • Company of New Pastors
  • Interfaith relations
  • Office of Public Witness
  • Racial ethnic leadership
  • Racial ethnic/new immigrant new worshiping communities
  • Special offerings
  • Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations office
  • World Mission
  • Young Adult Volunteers

“We’re looking at all ministries through lenses of alignment, impact and sustainability,” Valentine told the board, “and we’re directing our funds development efforts toward those ministries that have high alignment but weak funding.”

The budgets are predicated on $16 million each year in unrestricted contributions from congregations and presbyteries. “In 2007 our unrestricted income was $27 million,” Williams told the board. “It is down to $16 million currently, which reflects a trend of annual declines of about 7 percent.”

The 2015-2016 budgets also reflect:

  • an ongoing overseas mission worker staff of 165;
  • declines of $500,000 each year in per capita funding;
  • a general decrease of 10 percent for travel expenses;
  • salary increase pools of 3% each year (about $555,000);
  • and increased health care costs for national staff employees of $407,000 in 2015 and $165,000 in 2016.

The budgets also reflect the shift of Theological Education Fund income and expenses from the Presbyterian Mission Agency to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation.

Draws on the Presbyterian Mission Program Fund are budgeted at $2.1 million in 2015 and $2.4 million in 2016.

Williams said allocations from the budgets go 89 percent to mission, 3 percent to management and general expenses, and 8 to fundraising activities.

Deputy Executive Director for Mission Roger Dermody said the budgeting process and decisions “reflect the changing role of the Presbyterian Mission Agency from doing mission on behalf of Presbyterians to inspiring, equipping and connecting Presbyterians in their mission.”

He cited the rapid growth of the Young Adult Volunteer program ― 34 percent in the past three years ― as well as the changing focus of the Office of Public Witness in Washington to equip Presbyterians to engage in advocacy, the growing number of “leadership institutes" for a variety of Presbyterians and increased efforts to collaborate with mid councils as examples of that shift.

“A budget is more than numbers,” Dermody said. “It’s a reflection of changed lives.”

Valentine agreed. “We’re investing in the future of mission,” she said.