13TH SABBATH SCHOOL OFFERING
Sabbath School was established in the Adventist church in 1853 before there was an organized church. However, it was 25 years before anyone thought to take an offering for Sabbath School expenses. In 1885 the first mission offering was taken in the Upper Columbia Conference to send missionaries to Australia. Then word came to the church that the people on Pitcairn Island were keeping the Sabbath and wanted to be baptized, but the church could not find a ship passing that way. The Pitcairn Ship became the first Sabbath School project with it sailing from San Francisco on October 28, 1890.
Sabbath School children grow up learning about different parts of the world and where to find them on the map. An important result has been the stewardship training from an early age, and the desire to help people outside their neighborhood."
The first “13th Sabbath Offering Project was introduced in 1912 to establish a mission in India. With approximately four hundred 13th Sabbaths since that first project, this offering has allowed the church to build schools, dormitories, hospitals, clinics, churches, mission-launches, lamb-shelters, printing presses and universities around the world. Often there is more than one project for an offering so there have been over a thousand projects. Because Tithe money is not allowed to be used for buildings, the 13th Sabbath offering has usually been for construction-type projects.
The world wide work of the church has progressed much faster because of the four times a year when the world-church takes up an offering in Sabbath School to support a project in one of the divisions. Because the mission stories for that quarter are focused on that division and their projects, the church learns about the needs of diverse nationalities, races and cultures. Sabbath School children grow up learning about different parts of the world and where to find them on the map. An important result has been the stewardship training from an early age, and the desire to help people outside their neighborhood.
The blue bar in the chart below shows the actual offerings from 1969 to 2009 in ten-year intervals. The growth in actual offerings shows a steady increase. The red bar shows the real value of the US Dollar based on the 2009 Consumer Price Index. In the 1970s there was a 50% increase with the real value decreasing in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. Over the last 100 years, the Adventist church has grown from 100,000 members to 17 million members world-wide. The 13th Sabbath Offerings have played a major role in this growth.