CHURCH CONFERENCE EVENT

When is my church conference date? What’s the schedule for the day?
A:
To view your church conference schedule, please click here.

What reports does a church need to complete for their church conference? Is there a checklist?
A:
For a checklist of reports that are due, please click here.

What does a church need to print for its church conference? 
A:
For a list of documents that should be printed, please click here

Who should attend the church conference?
A:
Pastors are required to attend. All members holding leadership positions within the church are strongly encouraged to attend as well. Additionally, all church members are welcome to attend.

What should you bring?
A:
A church needs to bring enough printed copies of their church conference forms for all their members attending.

Is childcare provided at the church conferences?
A:
To find out if childcare is provided, please contact your Regional Administrative Assistant.

ARENA & CHURCH CONFERENCE REPORTS

How do I log in to Arena?
A:
To access Arena, please click here and then click on the red login bar. If you do not recall the email address associated with your account, please email Jessica Storer at jstorer@gnjumc.org to update your email address.

Which browser is best to use when completing the online Arena reports?
A:
Arena works best with Chrome and also with Safari and Internet Explorer. Please do not use Firefox as it is often not compatible with Arena.

Can I save my work on a church conference form and then come back later to complete and submit it?
A:
Yes, absolutely! The button at the bottom labeled “Save and Submit” functions as a save button. Even after hitting this, you are still able to log back into the form and add or update the information contained therein. Please hit this button as often as possible while completing the form to make sure you do not get timed out.

Why is it important to provide a church email address?
A:
The pastor and church leaders serve as the primary contacts between the conference office and the local church. However, pastors move, people go on vacations, and leadership roles change, but communications still need to get through to the church. It is a good idea to have an email address for the church that is active, remains consistent, and is checked frequently.

Should every pastor complete the Report of the Pastor?
A:
Only the senior pastor at every church should complete this report.

Why is it important to provide us with a 100-word description of your church on the Church Profile?
A:
The 100-word description is used for posting appointments and other communications where there is a need for a synopsis of the church’s ministries and the community it serves. 

Why should you complete the advisory section in its entirety on both the Pastor and Church Profiles?
A:
Please complete/update this form in its entirety annually. The information provided in the profile and advisory sections are important tools for working with growing vitality in our churches and pastors. They provide an opportunity for the SPRC/PPRC to communicate to the Cabinet the strengths and growth areas of the church, as well as the crucial ministries of the congregation in which the pastor is an integral part.  

What is the difference between a Housing Allowance and a Housing Exclusion (Line 5 and Line 11 on the Clergy Compensation Report)?
A:
For information about this, please click here.

What is UMPIP (Line 7 or Line 13 on the Clergy Compensation Report)? 
A:
UMPIP is the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan. This is elected by a pastor as his/her personal pension contribution and is taken directly from a pastor’s salary. This can be designated by a dollar amount or by a percentage. For more information, please click here to view UMPIP At-A-Glance and click here for the Clergy Compensation Report Instructions.

How do I enroll in UMPIP?
A:
Newly appointed pastors or currently appointed pastors that are transferring to another church that wish to enroll or remain enrolled in UMPIP (United Methodist Personal Investment Plan), must complete a new Contribution Election Form.  Entering a number on the Clergy Compensation and Expense Report does not trigger an enrollment in the plan.  Pastors electing a contribution change must also complete the Contribution Election Form and keep a file for their records.

Churches are the plan sponsor for the purposes of personal contributions for clergy and are responsible to complete “Part 7” of the form prior to submitting to Wespath Benefits and Investments.  The local church will receive a bill from Wespath each month for the pastor’s contributions.  Because this is an agreement between the local church and pastor, local churches must keep a copy of the Contribution Election Form on file. 

The Contribution Election Form is available by clicking here.

Why should a church submit a Nominations Report when the church already submits a Directory of Officials?
A:
A Nominations Report lists positions that are not requested on the Directory. It also lists committees not represented in full on the Directory. For example, the Directory only asks a church to name its Finance Chair and not all the members on the Finance Committee. To see an example of a possible Nominations Report, please click here.

Where does a church complete the Congregational Evaluation Form? Who should complete it?
A:
To complete evaluation, please click here. The Congregational Evaluation should be completed by the Church Council Chair.

Does a church still have to complete the Parsonage Evaluation even if they do not have a parsonage?
A:
Yes, but barely! Please log into the Parsonage Evaluation and click “no parsonage” at the top of the form and then scroll to the bottom and hit submit. That’s all!

What should you do if your church has multiple parsonages?
A:
If your church has multiple parsonages, please email Jessica Storer at jstorer@gnjumc.org and she will give you access to more copies of this form. 

I am a Lay Servant. What forms do I need to complete? 
A:
The current Book of Discipline has changed the requirements for lay servants. Per the 2016 Book of Discipline, only certified lay servants and certified lay speakers need to submit an annual report and be approved by the church conference. Basic or local church lay servants are no longer required to submit a report or be voted on by the church conference.

If you are a certified lay servant or a certified lay speaker, you will need to complete the Certified Lay Servant/Lay Speaker Report which can be accessed through Arena. If you did not receive an email with your login information, please email Jessica Storer at jstorer@gnjumc.org for assistance.  

There have been no changes to the Certified Lay Minister form.  All Certified Lay Ministers are required to complete the Certified Lay Minister Annual Report which can also be accessed through Arena.

What if a church has an additional resolution to add to its church conference?
A:
A copy of all resolutions must be sent to the District Superintendent for review and approval prior to the church conference. 

How do I access Mission Insite? 
A:
To access Mission Insite, please click here.

Do we need to submit a church conference booklet to our District Superintendent?
A:
No, please do not submit a church conference booklet for your DS.  All paperwork is accessible for the superintendents through the office, a paper copy is redundant.  Save the trees!

How does the Clergy Compensation Form work?
A:
The Clergy Compensation Form is an Excel spreadsheet.  All of the formulas to calculate appropriate benefits numbers are already in the spreadsheet.  When you add numbers to the form, you’ll notice numbers popping up automatically.  DO NOT delete any of the numbers that popped up automatically.  Doing this will delete the formulas and your final product will be incorrect.  If you make a mistake, simply delete the numbers where you typed them in; the rest will fix themselves.

If you have made a mistake and are not sure if your numbers are right, delete the form you have, download a blank one from the website and start over.  Every compensation form submitted is reviewed for correctness.  We will let you know if we spot an error.

How do I submit the forms on Arena?
A:
At the bottom of each form you will see a check box marked “Check here to verify that this form has been updated for 2017”.  When the form has been reviewed, updated, and you are ready to submit, check the box and click the “Submit/Save” button.  This will let us know that you have completed the form for the year.

How do I print forms from Arena?
A:
While the form you want to print is open, press the “CTRL” and the “P” keys at the same time.  This will make the print dialogue box appear and you can choose between printing the form and saving the form as a pdf file. 

How to I upload documents to the Report of the Trustees?
A:
The Report of the Trustees asks you to upload copies of several documents:

  • church incorporation papers
  • GNJAC certified Safe Sanctuary Policy
  • Master Certificate of Insurance
  • list of income producing and permanent funds (if not listed on the Fund Balance Report)
  • a written action plan addressing issued identified during the accessibility audit (if such issues exist)

Under each sentence requesting a document you will see the word “Change” written in blue.  Click “Change” and a dialogue box will pop up.  Follow the instructions to drag and drop or to browse for the file. 

What if my church does not have a Safe Sanctuary Policy?
A:
Safe Sanctuary policies are mandated by the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.  Please click here https://www.gnjumc.org/safe-sanctuaries/ for more information on how to become a compliant church.