Discerning God’s vision for the Foundation and its future

What is God calling us to do in this time and place? What is it that we are really supposed to be about? We need your voice at the table to help us respond to these questions.


The following executive summary was presented to, and affirmed by, the Foundation’s Board of Directors at a quarterly meeting on Aug. 8, 2023.


The purpose of the Foundation, since its inception, has been to develop partnerships within the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church that promote faithful financial stewardship, both individually and corporately.

Through years of growth, the Foundation has added leadership development programs that empower people to nurture their gifts and graces as they live out their call within a particular ministry context. When coupled with our grants and endowment ministries, the Foundation becomes a financial resource that enables vital ministries to be carried out not only within Western North Carolina, but beyond.


Historically, Foundation leaders have recognized a need, discerned if the need could be fulfilled through Foundation ministries, then gathered the financial and human resources to move forward. Often, forward movement was initiated by a strategic visioning/planning process that would be held every 5-10 years. In the interim, check-ins or updates would be performed by key leaders in conversation with stakeholders.

The Foundation’s last major strategic visioning process was conducted in 2010 and resulted in the affirmation of our current mission/vision statement:

The United Methodist Foundation is a ministry of the Church for the Church whose mission is to build the Church for generations to come. We fulfill this mission by investing in people, churches and related institutions, and innovation. We envision a Church where people live-out their discipleship through the wise stewardship of their God-given resources.

The current success of the Foundation as the largest among its peers in the Southeastern Jurisdiction and the third largest in the United Methodist connection (in total assets) is largely attributable to the strength of the mission/vision statement and adherence thereto. It has served us well and has been our guiding star as we have answered God’s call. Steady, prayerful leaders – contractors, volunteers, and staff – have enabled us to move far beyond what many envisioned.

As with any organization, the Foundation is a living, breathing organism that is susceptible to the forces beyond itself. Changes not only in the secular world, but also the world of United Methodism, prompted Foundation leaders to consider the future of the Foundation when taking into consideration present circumstances.

The Foundation’s core values of Excellence, Integrity, Innovation and Relationships will remain the same as they define the heart of who we are and who we believe we are called to be.


The Foundation staff, with the blessing and through the direction of the UMF Executive Team, have been engaged in a strategic visioning process that began in fall 2022.

Initially, Rev. Brad Farrington worked with the staff and administered the Enneagram iEQ9 personality assessment tool. Not only did the individual staff members engage in self-discovery, but also learned team dynamics as we considered tools that will be needed for the future.

Once this work was completed, Jennifer Davis, Foundation board member and organizational consultant, began working with the staff to create a covenant that states our guiding principles as we work in community with one common goal – to discern what it is God is calling us to do at this time. The covenant states:

Because we are committed to serving one another, we covenant to:

This covenant has been signed by all current staff members and is referenced during various meetings. The goal moving forward is for the covenant to be used not only by staff, but for the various teams and full board.


The strategic visioning process has identified three overarching goals necessary to fulfill our mission:

  1. To build and nurture collaborative relationships which strengthen the body of Christ
  2. To faithfully steward the resources entrusted to us and inspire and equip others to do the same
  3. To foster a culture of joy, trust, respect, and collegiality that celebrates and leverages our unique abilities, and unites us in common purpose for those we are called to serve

Each goal has corresponding strategies and action items to help accomplish the goal within a stated period. These strategies and action items will be carried out by various board and staff members as well as outside contractors, when necessary.

For the immediate future, our mission/vision statement will remain the same. However, there is a possibility that the statement will be changed along with our name and related branding. This decision will be made following the fall 2023 listening sessions.

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