April 6, 2021
President Tom Locke Assures Continuous Relationships with Churches During Denominational Transitions
After a year of unprecedented challenge and change, compounded by uncertainty in our denomination, we at TMF want you to know that we are here for you now and that you can count on us to be there for you in the future. While continuing our practice of financial transparency and open communications, we will also strive to immediately address any questions or misunderstandings we hear about from our TMF family.
One such question concerns the status of our relationship with a borrower or investor if their church or conference chooses to leave the UMC for the Global Methodist Church, another denomination, or disaffiliates from any denomination. Please know that if a church has a loan or investment with TMF and chooses to leave the denomination, that departure will not result in a change in our current relationship or in potential future loans or investments with us. The same is true for all of our services. We want to assure all of the churches we serve that we look forward to continuing our partnership in ministry with you through all of the ministries we offer.
Our organizational bylaws allow us to work with any congregation that can trace its heritage back to the Wesleyan movement that began in the 1700s, which means we have the flexibility to serve a wide scope of churches that are fulfilling God’s call for them to serve their communities and the world. Again, this includes all of the churches we currently serve, whether or not they decide to leave the denomination.
Our ability to respond to the needs of the church during challenging times is dependent on our financial integrity. I am happy to report that TMF is stronger financially than we have ever been, managing over $700 million in assets. Now at $68 million, our Undesignated Endowment (capital reserves) continues to grow and is a first line of defense to protect against any loan loss. Our loan portfolio is solid with past dues remaining at the same low levels from before the pandemic. We will continue our goal of timely disclosure of our financial condition which is regularly updated on our website here.
As an organization that started during the Great Depression, our very essence is rooted in helping churches thrive in difficult times. During the recession of 2008, for example, we grew while other financial organizations declined. We believe that is because the relationships we have with you have always been at the center of our ministry. Churches trust us and our track record. At the heart of every decision we make is a desire to affirm that trust.
Our response to the pandemic is another example. To support the work of churches during the crisis, TMF created a Microloan Program, made a Loan Assistance Program available to loan clients, offered special grants through the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, and moved Leadership Ministry opportunities online. We were grateful to extend these resources and walk alongside so many agents of change in an unpredictable year.
We are in prayer for all of the churches we serve and believe that continuing to focus on our core purpose of “empowering the Church in the achievement of her God-appointed missions” is our most faithful response. Ultimately, as my good friend, pastor, and former TMF board and staff member Jim Turley reminds us, “God’s got this.” That feels like good news to me.
Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the Church to achieve its God-appointed mission, and living our values of servanthood, integrity and competence. TMF is the largest United Methodist foundation in the country offering assistance to United Methodists through investments, loans, grants, leadership platforms, gift planning, and endowment services. TMF serves the six United Methodist conferences throughout Texas and New Mexico. TMF is based in Austin, Texas. To learn more, please visit tmf-fdn.org.