ANNUAL SACRIFICE OFFERING
While the world was still reeling in the aftermath of World War I, the Adventist Church was fully engaged in world missions and global expansion. Over the decade from 1910 to 1920, the number of evangelistic workers outside of North America went from 2,020 to 4,336 while the number of evangelistic workers within North America only increased from 2,326 to 2,619. It was during the same period that the number of churches outside of North America (2,684) also exceeded the number within (2,243) for the first time.
The struggling economies in Europe and the United States, coupled with the rapid expansion of Adventist world missions posed a real problem for the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Mission opportunities were available as never before, yet the crippling financial shortfalls in North America not only meant that such opportunities might never be realized, but that they actually needed to recall missionaries already in the field.
The struggling economies in Europe and the United States, coupled with the rapid expansion of Adventist world missions posed a real problem for the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church."
During the Autumn Council of the General Conference Committee, held September 20 to 27, 1922 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, the delegates prayerfully decided to ask church members to give a sacrificial one week’s wage to cover the quarter of a million dollar budget deficit that year. In spite of the difficult conditions of the early 1920s, members responded by giving more than $350,000 over the following year to what became known as the Annual Week of Sacrifice Offering. Over the years, this offering has continued, with 100% of the offering going to frontline Global Mission work for planting churches in unreached and under-reached parts of the world and among new people groups.
Today, you will find the Annual Sacrifice Offering at work supporting pioneering projects in Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belorussia, Bhutan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cote-D’Ivoire, Denmark, DR Congo, East Timor, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tome Principe, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Ossetia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The sacrifice that our world church membership of 208,771 Seventh-day Adventists made back in 1922 is remarkable when their contribution is translated into today’s dollars. Applying the cumulative inflation rate (1,196.92%) as determined by the United States Government Bureau of Labor Statistics between the dates, December 1922-December 2010, that contribution of $350,000 back then is equivalent to $4,189,220 today in purchasing power—twenty dollars per member in 1922 (adjusted for inflation), compared to three dollars per member given in the year 2010!
Today, the global economy is facing a similar challenge to that of the year 1922, yet due to the explosive growth in the world’s population and the nearness of Christ’s return, the challenge is even greater and our faithfulness more urgent. We will strengthen the church’s pioneer mission outreach ability seven-fold if we would just match the self-sacrificing spirit of our members in 1922. . Knight, George R., A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists 2nd Edition, p. 132
. www.adventiststatistics.org, Annual Statistical Report for the year 1922.