Below are FAQs that will help guide you in setting up your plan (updated 2/23/21)
We are moving forward with God’s guidance, committed to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and poised to take both bold steps forward to end the sin of racism and smaller steps in helping each other heal and grow.
Jan. 22 Special Annual Conference
A special annual conference session was held virtually on Jan. 22 to review a shared billing plan and adopt any necessary budget changes. The updated billings letter was sent on the afternoon of Feb. 3, which reflects annualized figures. For more information on the Special Session, including its own set of FAQs, please go here.
Why were the pensions not included?
Due to potential mid-year appointment changes, pension and clergy-elected (and lay-elected) health-related billings were not included in the Feb. 3 letter but will be part of the billing statements received monthly. The first complete billing statements are scheduled to go out the week of Feb. 1.
However, while these were not included in the original document sent on Feb. 3, churches need to add these figures when assessing if they can pay at 100%.
Why the increase in property insurance?
All billings now also include the 5% administrative costs and 7% uncollectable as outlined in the legislation. It is important to note that our insurance carrier, Sovereign is doing a great job. Other conferences have seen increases of 20% to 40% (overall market was 10-15% increase). GNJ’s premium increase was about 5% despite 7.5% increase in property values.
Is the percentage (2020) not taking into account the months forgiven by the conference?
We recognize that in 2020, GNJ gave a four-month holiday on Shared Ministries for those churches struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic; hence, 67% payment in 2020 would be equivalent to 100% for that year.
When will the first billing statements be mailed?
The first complete billing statements are expected to be sent out the week of Feb. 1.
Based on who or what do we pay Workers Comp?
The church completes an audit each year which includes the payroll for each employee working at the local church. The church remits the completed audit to Church Mutual at which point Church Mutual will calculate the Workers’ Comp due by the church. 2020-WC-Audit-Blank-Form-Instructions.
Why are shared ministries now listed as GNJ & General Church? Which one is my church responsible for? Which one should we aim to pay first?
As always, shared ministry includes both GNJ and General Church apportionments; the church is responsible for both, and full payments on both should be paid monthly.
Why did health insurance go up again?
Healthcare insurance in 2021 was approved to be billed to churches at $15,000 per policy, when in reality the health insurance program costs $23,000 per policy. GNJ will continue to subsidize the cost (not pass along the full amount in year one) through about 2025. Please refer to the Financial Report and Special Session Legislation here.
What funds are included on each of the Shared Ministries categories listed in the billing outline?
All details can be found here on our website.
What are the new items I’m seeing in my billing statement (Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Dental, Vision)?
These are expenses related to optional plans/reimbursement accounts selected during the health insurance annual election made by clergy/lay staff with health coverage. These should be deducted from the individual’s paycheck and passed along to the conference via the billings payment.
Is the local church responsible for paying debts from 2019 right now?
Churches are expected to continue to pay your monthly billings as invoiced. The past due billables have not been removed since the Journey of Hope Forbearance program has not yet been enacted.
For Shared Ministries, there is a Fund breakdown by church on your website with 8 funds but your bill and remittance form has 2 funds. We plan on paying in full each month but we need to know how to apply so we can apply it the same as GNJUMC. Do we apply our payment to the 2 funds or to the 8 funds? How will GNJUMC be applying payments on our statements?
In an effort to simplify our process, CF&A approved the consolidated statement where the church is simply paying its GNJ and General Church total. We will allocate to payments to each fund as the percentage of the total each represents in the budget (as detailed on the web).
Can the global UMC help GNJ with this financial issue?
GNJ’s financial issue is under billing congregations. The denomination is unable to pay for the costs to finance insurances and benefits of congregations.
Can you explain why any Churches should trust GNJ with their monies that are sent, that they will be appropriately used and not mismanaged?
There does not appear to be any evidence of GNJ misusing any funds sent by churches. While this is being further researched, the funds sent for shared ministry were spent according to the approved budget of GNJ, and the money sent by congregations for billings was being used to pay insurance and benefits. The issue is that we were not charging congregations the appropriate amount. We have a five-year plan to assist congregations in paying for their full billings. Trust is lost in a moment and only rebuilt over time. We will work to regain trust by being fully transparent, assisting congregations as we can like we did in 2020 with the holiday, and working with churches to pay billings over five years.
We will also publish the report of the independent team and provide access to the report for all GNJ membership.
Why are the billables I've received not matching the records I have?
The grace period for receiving all shared ministry ended on Jan. 12. There, any payments received after that date will not be reflected in the billables you have received.
Are special charge conferences needed to approve the changes that will result in the clergy compensation reports due to the budget changes?
No, special charge conferences are not needed when applying.
Are the new healthcare deductions pre-tax?
Yes, they are pre-tax. Only the FSA is subject to local state tax.
How do the healthcare deductions impact the Pastor's Compensation Report?
CRSP and CPP will be billed as 14% for CRSP and CPP as 3.4% on the compensation report. The instruction page will include details as to how we derived at these numbers.
Can FSA contributions be used to pay for the incremental vision and dental?
FSA may be used to pay for a variety of dental and vision care products and services. However, it cannot be used to pay premiums.