Leveraging Partnerships  

Partnerships multiply possibilities.

The best ones make us stronger and more efficient. They open up doors of opportunity we had not previously considered and amplify our reach to the mission field. For the Virginia United Methodist Development Company, this kind of partnership was exactly what they wanted.

Randy shelton VP of Lending and Capital Development at Virginia United Methodist Development Company

Randy shelton VP of Lending and Capital Development at Virginia United Methodist Development Company

As a subsidiary of the Virginia United Methodist Foundation, the Development Company sees its purpose as helping churches make sound financial decisions for the enhancement of ministry. This includes offering competitive loans that target congregational needs, but sometimes the loan amounts churches request are more than what the Development Company would wisely carry on their own.

Rather than turning qualifying churches away, they decided a creative partnership would better suit the needs of God’s Kingdom.

“We have great demand for our loans in this conference,” Randy Shelton, VP of Lending and Capital Development, shared. “In fact, we have so much demand, there are times a partnership is the only way we can meet those demands effectively, so a partnership makes a great deal of sense.”

Over the last couple of years, Randy has led the Development Company to work with the United Methodist Development Fund (UMDF). UMDF is a United Methodist organization that not only offers loans and investment opportunities to churches, but they also partner with other Methodist Foundations to serve the needs of churches across the country.

Recently, Randy guided the Development Company to work with UMDF on a $1.2 million loan. It was a loan Randy knew would make a noticeable difference to the congregation and community, even though underwriting it solitarily was not strategic for the Development Company. Consequently, Randy’s work to have UMDF participate in the loan was a win-win for all parties.    

Pastor Daniel Park and son in front of their new parsonage in McLean, VA.

Pastor Daniel Park and son in front of their new parsonage in McLean, VA.

That is exceptionally important to the Development Company, because they pride themselves on supporting the work of the church over the long-term. The relationships they form are not just about loans; they assist churches with capital campaigns, donor cultivation, and more. Randy visits with churches individually; he knows their ministries and vision. He believes in the work they are doing and wants to ensure churches know the best ways to save money, so they can reinvest those savings into their mission. Every year, he makes a point of revisiting churches who have a loan, so they can review financial information together and address needs.

“We help churches create momentum to achieve their goals and dreams,” Randy said with joy. “The partnership we have with UMDF helps expand our resources to do valuable work, which brings more dollars to our communities. It makes us more effective and it grew our capacity. In reality, our partnership activities have increased our assets by over 30%!”

This is no small feat, considering the Development Company has only existed since 2014.

“I feel like this kind of partnership is the best, creative and innovative way to assist our churches, give back to our communities, and grow our organization,” Randy noted. “It is Methodists helping Methodists and that is what we are all about at the Development Company.”

UMDF is thankful to be in partnership with leaders like Randy, whose love and commitment for the church are tangible. Who is partnering with you?