Juan R. Prestol, Undertreasurer, General Conference World Headquarter, Silver Spring, MD
Summary: This articles highlights about the tithes received and where the tithes go and how the tithes are used.
In the treasurer’s report presented at the 2010 GC Session in Atlanta, Georgia, it was reported that over the last five years the annual worldwide tithe increased 40.2% from $1.32 billion in 2004 to $1.85 billion in 2009. World Mission Offerings over the quinquennium increased 31.8% from $48.7 million to $64.2 million.
Each week millions of Seventh-day Adventists around the world join each other in worshiping their Creator. They live in different locations, different cultures, and worship in different styles. But one thing remains the same: they are dedicated to spreading the Gospel of Christ around the world. They give their time, their energy, and their money for this cause. Telling other people about the saving grace of Jesus is not something they can do all by themselves on their own. The Adventist church works together by pooling its resources through tithing to spread the Gospel.
Where Does the Tithe Go and How Is It Used?
As church members, we give a tithe and offerings. Most offerings given at the local church stay at the church for operating the business of the church. However, all of the tithe given at the local church is sent to the local conference or mission. For every one dollar given, the conference or mission uses anywhere from 70% to 89% of the funds to pay the salaries of pastors, elementary and secondary school teachers, and Bible workers. It also pays salaries of conference office staff and supports conference programs, such as evangelism.
The conferences and missions pass along a percentage of the tithes to the unions. A union is a geographical region of the church and can span several states or provinces or sometimes an entire country or several countries. For every dollar given by a church member at a local church, depending on the region of the world, a union will use anywhere from 8% to 19% of the funds to help support high schools, colleges and universities. It also funds publishing initiatives, religious liberty outreach, and salaries for union staff.
Unions are the building blocks of the world church. A group of unions form a division. The world church is made up of thirteen divisions. The unions pass along a percentage of the tithe it receives to the divisions. For every dollar a church member gives at a local church, a division uses anywhere from 1% to 18%, depending on the division and how its governance is setup, to fund entities such as universities, theological seminaries, media centers, and website and communication platforms.
Each division sends a percentage of its tithe to the General Conference, the Adventist church’s world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. The tithes received are used to direct the ministries and services on a global scale. The majority of the tithes received is sent back into the world field for missions, for Hope Channel outreach, for Adventist World magazine and for Adventist World Radio. These funds provide Bible study resources for church members globally, training for pastors and laymen, and for media outreach to keep members and the public aware of church activities, and to fund salaries for staff at the General Conference headquarters. Appropriations and support are also given to parts of the world where leaders have identified a need, including a strong church structure and educational opportunities for future leaders and members.
We praise God for the faithfulness of His people in supporting the global work of the church through their tithes and offerings and for His goodness in providing these means for spreading the Gospel of Christ around the world.