Committee on Coordination & Accountability
Below is the 2014 annual report that was submitted to the Southeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Coordination and Accountability. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.
The core mission of UMVIM, SEJ is to inspire change in the world, to inform, connect and equip volunteers, and to interact as servants of Christ in order to transform the world through Christian love in action.
UMVIM makes this a reality through education, support and viable opportunities. We believe that faithful discipleship requires responding to people who are in need, thus volunteers share the love of Jesus Christ in tangible ways through word and action. UMVIM, SEJ exists to help Christians fulfill their call to discipleship by connecting them to identified opportunities and preparing them for mission service.
UMVIM, SEJ maintains the International Project list for the denomination and shares that information with the other jurisdictions and Global Ministries Mission Volunteers office. The coordination and accountability provided to volunteers and project volunteer sites is vital. Not only do we serve as the connector in these relationships, but we also create the infrastructures and offer training to both the team leader and the project site leader.
Each year, nearly 10,000 volunteers from the Southeastern Jurisdiction serve in short-term mission service. The online process for teams to register their short-term service has allowed for better statistics and data. Our numbers from 2013 indicate a total of 863 teams, in which 171 served in the United States.
Through the Individual Volunteer (IV) Program, a person or couple may serve two months to two years in their placements. Orientations are scheduled in different jurisdictions, although there is always one in the SEJ since we have the largest number of participants. In addition to assisting with the scheduled training in the SEJ, as requested, I (Paulette) have provided IV orientation on a one-on-one basis. Each year there are around 50 Individual Volunteers from the SEJ who serve in their assignments throughout the world. So far in 2014, thirteen people have completed Individual Volunteer training, and eleven have already received their placements. There are at least seven more that will be attending the final 2014 training in October. Some of these Individual Volunteer placements have evolved into international missionary assignments, such Eric Soard of the Memphis Conference in Tanzania (http://www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/Soard-Eric), Rev. James (http://www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/Williams--James) and Lisa Williams of the Kentucky Conference in Belize (http://www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/Williams--Lisa). Lisa also serves as the Volunteer in Mission Coordinator for Belize.
OPERATIONAL PLANS AND MINISTRY GOALS FOR 2013-2016
As related to the four foci of Global Ministries:
Congregational Development - In addition to building new churches, teams and Individual Volunteers provide resources and training for churches, both new and existing, along with their pastors. UMVIM, SEJ short-term teams continue to serve with Global Ministries Mission initiatives, helping to build new places for worship and ministry, and assisting missionaries with resources and evangelism for planting new churches.
Leadership Development - UMVIM, SEJ formalized “Best Practices for UMVIM teams” which are being encouraged by all jurisdictions. These practice provide a standard expectation by church and project leadership, and insures appropriate management and accountability. One of the “best practices” is having a trained team leader. The UMVIM “Train the Trainers” program provides qualified trainers that are equipped to train team leaders in their respective annual conferences. This has allowed UMVIM, SEJ to have trainers in annual conferences to schedule UMVIM Team Leader Trainings as needed. During 2013, annual conferences reported a total of 47 trainings, resulting in 513 team leaders becoming trained. This program has increased the number of team leaders who are taking new teams to serve.
Ministry with the Poor - Most UMVIM projects are located in areas where poverty exists, and volunteers work in those communities to help people gain access to resources such as food, housing, education and work to empower them to create ways to escape the cycle of poverty. Because one of the major issues encountered is the urgent need for food, teams serve with established projects and initiatives to provide immediate food sources to assist families. More volunteers are involved in creating sustainable agricultural programs that develop techniques and methods to produce better and more diversified crops. During 2014, we have been highlighting our projects in the Southeastern Jurisdiction that focus on ministry with the poor. Attached is the recent Mission Highlight about Rural Projects that work to end generational poverty, or you can read it on our blog (http://umvimsej.blogspot.com/2014/08/mission-highlight-rural-opportunities.html).
Global Health - UMVIM, SEJ sends short-term medical teams and medical Individual Volunteers to numerous countries. All aspects of medical care and surgery are performed, including treatment of malaria and AIDS. Partnering with UMCOR Health (which has provided training and supervision to newly formed Health Boards in African countries) has allowed strategies and priorities to be identified so we can see areas where volunteers will be needed. There is also a new focus on identifying and training a community-based health promoter. Alabama Honduras Medical Education Network (AHMEN) and Servants in Faith and Technology (SIFAT) have partnered together to provide this type of training program in Honduras.
UMVIM, SEJ Strategic Plan goals for the quadrennium include:
Implementing Board Restructure Plan - Restructuring has reduced the board membership from 34 members to fifteen, and reorganized the teams/committees into areas determined by our Strategic Plan. It also created the UMVIM Advisory Team (consisting of two representatives from each annual conference, including the Conference UMVIM Coordinators serving as a pool from which board and committee members may be selected). The restructure has allowed us to focus on orientation for new Conference UMVIM Coordinators and selecting board members with a diversity of leadership skills and backgrounds. During the October 2-4, 2013 board meetings at Global Ministries in New York City, each committee submitted their Ministry Goals for 2014. Conference UMVIM Coordinators have become a networking group who meet annually. During 2014, they met prior to the SEJ Disaster Academy at Simpsonwood in Atlanta, GA.
Strengthening the Brand - Creating strategies that will make UMVIM visible to local church congregations, including branding all organizational items such as the website, printed materials and displays for a uniformed and standardized look. UMVIM, SEJ created a new website during the past year which I encourage you to visit at www.umvim.org .
UMVIM, SEJ staff speak and have displays at local churches and events. We visited local churches in the following annual conferences during the past year: Florida, North Alabama, North Carolina, North Georgia and South Georgia. In addition, I attended and had displays at the North Alabama and Red Bird Annual Conference sessions.
Building Connectional Relationships - Maintaining connection through training and resources with the annual conferences and local churches is important for the ministry of UMVIM, SEJ. Providing information and resources for volunteers, missionaries and project leader continues to be needed. Using technology such as Skype to dialogue and communicate with missionaries and church leaders without having to travel will be vital to sustaining connectional relationships.
UMVIM, SEJ staff continues to provide team leader training as requested as well. During the past year, our staff has led team leader trainings in South Georgia, North Alabama and the Memphis Conferences. I recently did a Train the Trainers in the South Georgia Annual Conference. Last November, I assisted Global Ministries Mission Volunteers with training in South Africa for project leaders and missionaries who host volunteers. There were 16 participants from the following countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
This year we changed the forms and format for the International UMVIM Opportunities for Teams list. The focus is now on the types of opportunities in relation with our missionaries and project leaders. This list is available for download on our website (http://umvim.org/send_a_team/international/select_a_project.html).
The SEJ Disaster Academy brings together annual conferences to train and discuss better ways of addressing relief, recovery and rebuilding in affected areas. It also allows us to share the continued needs of those areas that are in recovery. I encourage you to read our blog post on this topic (http://umvimsej.blogspot.com/2014/07/volunteer-training-it-matters-to.html).
Jurisdictional Coordinators meet twice a year. In March, we met and visited projects in St. Louis, Missouri, and in August we participated in the North Central Jurisdictional Round-Up Gathering in Indiana. Both times we used and promoted A Mission Journey, a Handbook for Volunteers, a collaboration of Global Ministries Mission Volunteers and the UMVIM Jurisdictional Coordinators.
During the past year, there have been several other opportunities for building connectional relationships. Last November, The General Board of Church and Society hosted UMVIM leaders throughout the United States for meetings in Washington, D.C. to dialogue and learn where we might be able to collaborate in the future.
Earlier this month, I attended United Methodist Communications’ Game Changer Summit in Nashville, which addressed how information and appropriate communications technology (ICT) can be of help in certain areas. For example, in West Africa, information related to Ebola can be sent efficiently using Frontline SMS texting, or in places where there is unstable and limited electricity and doctors are performing C-sections by candles, appropriate technologies can be provided.
Creating Opportunities for a New Generation of Volunteers in Mission - Recruiting and training youth leaders and providing opportunities that are easy for leadership logistically will be a major focus. “GO!” is our program for youth and young adults and will serve as an introduction to UMVIM for those who have never served with us before. It will provide hands-on training and guidance to the team leader during the planning process and gives students the opportunity to serve.
UMVIM, SEJ coordinated the Young People in Mission event that was held at Lake Junaluska June 29-July 3 of this year. There were 11 churches and approximately 250 attendees. I encourage you to read the series of blog posts about this year’s event to learn more (http://umvimsej.blogspot.com/2014/09/2014-young-people-in-mission.html). Each year, a Design Team is selected to plan and implement the next year’s event. The team is comprised of young people in high school and college, as well as two young adult representatives. The 2015 YPIM Design Team met September 12-14 in Birmingham to begin planning for next year, which is scheduled June 28-July 2, 2015.
UMVIM, SEJ staff continues to provide information and resources to colleges and universities, helping them discern connection with mission projects. This year we met with the Bama Wesley Foundation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The UMVIM, SEJ Summer College Intern Program gives students an opportunity to engage in both domestic and international mission opportunities, and is a time of encouragement and discernment for them. The first intern was Kylie Foley in 2013. She is currently serving as the Imagine No Malaria Coordinator for the Florida Conference. Our 2014 intern was Laura Kigweba of the Memphis Conference, who is a student at Wesley Theological Seminary. To learn more about Laura’s experience, please visit our blog to read the Mission Highlight (http://umvimsej.blogspot.com/search/label/UMVIM%20Internship ).
INTERACTION WITH CHRISSY BOOTH (SEJ CCA CONSULTANT)
During the 2013 SEJ CCA meetings at Lake Junaluska, the UMVIM, SEJ Staff and our Board President meet with Chrissy at night to talk about the needs of our ministry and dialogue of opportunities for her to interact with our organization. We determined from our conversations that she could best assist UMVIM, SEJ in the area of development. She worked with Landon Taylor, UMVIM, SEJ Church Relations/Development, and Rev. David Newton, Development Team Chair, to schedule training for the Development Team on their roles and responsibilities, and to begin creating a strategy and plan for increasing our supporting churches and individual donors. Lists were created based on the level and frequency of giving during the past four years, and ways in which Development Team members, as well as UMVIM, SEJ board members and staff, can each engage in aspects of the ministry.
At our April meeting in Birmingham, Chrissy provided training for the Board of Directors on their role in Development. She has facilitated conversations related to ongoing ideas about how to broaden our donor base and give specific ways on how to create a process for asking for contributions. There have been numerous conference calls between Chrissy and the staff and Chrissy and the UMVIM, SEJ Development Team throughout the past year.
Almost 70% of UMVIM, SEJ’s current revenue is generated through the services offered by our office, such as the insurance and processing fees and the sale of team leader handbooks. In the past, registration fees offset the declining amount of support from the Jurisdiction, and the new online registration process has reduced the need for additional staff to enter data.
The Train the Trainers program has increased the number of team leader trainings in annual conferences, contributing to an increase in handbooks sold. We plan to revise our current Team Leader training handbook by the end of the year.
Since moving the office to Birmingham, UMVIM, SEJ has experience several changes in staff. Landon Taylor was hired July 15, 2013 to specifically focus on creating ways for churches and individuals to partner with us financially. We are looking for opportunities using diverse forms of communication, including social media, to offer opportunities for investing in the ministries of UMVIM, SEJ. Landon has worked with the Development Team and Chrissy Booth to create development strategies and goals.
UMVIM, SEJ assets are cash and cash equivalents, restricted funds and office furnishings (including computers, printers, and servers). The increase in the amount from 2012 to 2013 was the amount transferred from Lake Junaluska to UMVIM, SEJ related to the Young People in Mission event. Current liabilities are accounts payable. Attached is a copy of the 2013 audit, 2013 year-end financial statement, and 2014 year to date financial statement as of August 31, 2014.
UMVIM, SEJ has a fifteen member Board of Directors, all with short-term mission experience. The officers, who serve as the Executive Committee, together with the chairs of the standing committee, a representative from the Council of Bishops, Conference Secretary of Global Ministries, two at-large members (one related to one of our international projects) and GBGM Mission Volunteers (ex-officio), make up the board. Current demographics include clergy (6), laity (6), male (10), female (4), 30s (2), 40s (2), 50s (6), over 60 (3), African-American (3), Hispanic (1) and Caucasian (9).
UMVIM, SEJ is an incorporated non-profit organization. The executive director is hired by its Board of Directors. Meeting twice a year, the board approves all by-laws, policies and budgets for the organization. The board sets the vision and goals which the standing committees and staff implement. Attached is a current list of board members or you can visit the Staff page on our website (http://umvim.org/about_us/staff.html).
Promotion is vital in making churches aware of the ministry, training and services that UMVIM, SEJ can provide or assist their mission programs. What are ways that the Jurisdiction can assist with Promotion?
Prayer is an important part of our ministry. During our staff meetings, we pray for teams and Individual Volunteers serving, Global Ministries mission personnel and staff, and UMVIM and GBGM projects. Please pray for all those serving through UMVIM but especially for our office and staff.
Transforming the world through Christian love in action
Paulette West, Executive Director