My seven-year-old daughter has been working hard at saving money. At her age, money comes from Christmas and birthday gifts as well as the ever-faithful Tooth Fairy.
Recently, she asked my wife and I about opening a bank account with her saved money. One of the options she asked about was the “account at Daddy’s work,” referring to the Development Fund offered by the Florida United Methodist Foundation.
I enjoyed telling her about how if she placed her money there, it would earn what is called “interest” and explained with dollars and coins what that looks like.
I also explained how her deposit would be able to help churches just like her church take on amazing projects like a new 5,000 square-foot space for gatherings, ministries and community outreach programs at New Horizon United Methodist Church in Southwest Ranches, a new kitchen to support ministries at Isle of Faith in Jacksonville and a new home for the revitalized Wesley Foundation campus ministry at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.
She began to understand part of the appeal of the Development Fund: she would earn a little bit more money while helping churches expand their ministries.
This exchange reminds me of Ephesians 4:16, which teaches us, “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”
When stopping to explain something to a seven-year-old, I had to be very thoughtful yet simple, because they ask great questions and expect good answers. While I felt confident in my answers about the Development Fund, it occurred to me that it would be good to revisit the fund’s purpose with the Foundation’s partners of all ages.
The Development Fund is a savings and loan fund that has supported churches and related organizations since 1976. Any Florida resident, church, organization or business can invest in the fund with a minimum investment of $100 and earn a competitive interest rate on deposits.
The interest rate for the first quarter of 2023 is 2%. This rate is subject to quarterly review by the Foundation’s finance committee, which considers a variety of market factors in their decision. Our investors enjoy the liquidity of the fund — funds can be withdrawn at any time without penalty.
The mission of the Development Fund is to help churches, faith-based agencies, and nonprofits have a reliable and affordable source of loan funds for renovation projects, expansion, repairs, new construction, and loan refinancing. Since its inception, the Foundation has loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to churches and agencies across Florida.
To view deposits to the Development Fund simply as a bank account is not completely accurate. While there may be deposit options at other financial institutions with a higher rate of return, I am a firm believer that the total return that comes from investing in the Development Fund is unparalleled when you consider not only the individual financial benefit but the powerful investment being made in enabling ministries to grow because of your partnership.
As if looking through the eyes of a child, investors see a better future for themselves and a prosperous future for Christian ministry.
The Foundation’s staff are here for you to answer any questions you may have about the Development Fund or the many other ways we support our ministry partners.
With your continued partnership, we remain committed to our work and the services we provide are a ministry in support of efforts to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Ed New is the Foundation’s president.