a closer look at the seventh-day Adventist Church and our giving
Looking at the figures on this graphic representation of the world and it's religions is a real eye-opener. There are seven billion people on the planet. "Population in the world is currently (2016) growing at a rate of around 1.13% per year. The current average population change is estimated at around 80 million per year." 1 If we were to baptize 100, 000 people per day (36, 500, 000), we would not even keep up with the increase in population this year, nevermind reach the unreached.
"Population in the world is currently (2016) growing at a rate of around 1.13% per year. The current average population change is estimated at around 80 million per year."
Christianity makes up about 30 percent of the world's religions. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, at 19 million members, makes up a minute 0.89 percent of Christianity.
Working with statistics leaves much to be desired, nevertheless, the broad picture this affords us is quite grim. How are we going to spread the Three Angels' Messages to every kindred, nation, tongue and people? Clearly, there is no way we can do this on our own! We need the power of the Holy Spirit working through fully committed, whole-life stewards of God!
Even if we gave every cent represented by every member of this church, we can only hope to make a small 'dent,' considering the total picture. This begs the questions, "Why give?" Why continue with the mission of the church under such odds?"
These questions make us dig deep for answers. We have to go back to the basics. It has to be about worship! We worship an all-powerful Creator-God who loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us, to save us from our sins and the situation in which we find ourselves in this world. We preach the saving grace of God because, like Paul, we cannot help ourselves. We have experienced God's love and cannot but share it with others. We give because we owe everything to Him, not because He needs it! We give to God's mission because it is such a great privilege to be partners in the gospel. We give and He will multiply it! We preach and the power of the Holy Spirit will cause the seeds we have planted to take root and produce exponential results. People will not be able to say they did not hear the gospel.
"When we give freewill offerings, then we are giving, then we are beginning to show generosity."
All God's gifts to His faithful stewards are to be used for God's mission as carried out by His church. Regarding financial support for God's work, Adventists practice Systematic Benevolence: the faithful returning of God's tithe and the regular giving of free will percentage-based offerings. The fact is, when we have tithed, we have not yet given. We have merely returned what God has claimed as His—the 10 percent. When we give freewill offerings, then we are giving, then we are beginning to show generosity. The ratio of our free will percentage-based offerings to income is what determines the 'generosity factor' for any given year. In the graphic showing the world church funds, the total offerings is just under 30 percent of total funds. Tithe is just more than 70 percent. Tithe is10 percent of the income that was tithed, and the generosity factor is the promised percentage of that same income given as offerings. It is about 4.14 percent for 2014. What will it be the next year?
Adventist Stewardship Ministries encourages all of God's stewards to faithfully continue worshipping God by returning a faithful tithe, and becomming generous promisors: i.e. to commit to giving a regular percentage of our income as offerings—according to the extent that God has blessed each of us. Let us make that commitment today, to worship God with everything we have, and invest together in eternity!