Healthy Conference, Healthy Churches:
Spokane Valley UMC Supports the Ministry Fund Drive
By Julia Frisbie

The Rev. Mike Graef serves as the pastor at Spokane Valley UMC.
The Rev. Mike Graef serves as the pastor at Spokane Valley UMC.
When the Rev. Mike Graef pitched the We See A New Church Ministry Fund Drive to Spokane Valley UMC, they stepped up. “We wanted to be a leadership church,” says Mike. “So we made a pledge for $50,000 over three years.”

“I see the value of the connection with the local church and the Conference,” Graef explains. He has a unique perspective as a former District Superintendent and an active member of the Board of Congregational Development.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the future of a local church really depends on the health of the Conference… the Conference sends the local church their pastors, and if the Conference isn’t healthy, then the churches won’t receive equipped pastors, and that can lead to all good things stalling out.”

Graef believes that the resources offered by The Tuell Center will benefit both clergy and local churches. We’re already seeing positive results with the churches participating in the beta vitality process. Funding The Tuell Center will make this resource available to more congregations.

Spokane Valley UMC also believes in New Church Starts. “We need to start new churches because helping new people meet Christ and follow Him is what we do,” Graef shares.


And the third part of the fund drive – Imagine No Malaria – is easy to support. Malaria is devastating, but the solutions are not expensive. The $5,000 tithe of Spokane Valley UMC’s pledge could pay for protective bed nets for 500 families, or lifesaving medication for 1,000 malaria patients.

Rather than signing up for three years of fundraising, Spokane Valley UMC has decided to pay their pledge directly out of their church budget. This is one of the easiest ways for many churches to make a difference. They sent their first check a few weeks ago.

“We’re very proud to support the Ministry Fund Drive,” says Mike. “We hope to inspire other churches to buy into this and make a pledge themselves.”

Julia Frisbie serves as the Imagine No Malaria field coordinator
for the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area.


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