The Most Needed Kind of Offering in a Church With A Worldwide Mission
Have you ever wondered how you might distribute your offerings so that the funds may speed Jesus’ coming and spread His message more efficiently throughout all the three geographic segments alluded to by Jesus in Acts 1:8 (local, regional, and international)? In the previous two parts of this article¹ we explored why offerings are as important as the tithe, how are they used by the Adventist Church, and why to apply the Storehouse system also to regular offerings.
In the Adventist Church, any destination assigned by the giver to an offering will always be respected. But in the 12 world divisions or fields² that have adopted the Combined Offering Plan,³ unassigned or loose offerings trigger a worldwide miracle of growth.
Such an offering (if marked as “promise,”⁴ or regular offering in the envelope) is automatically distributed throughout the world to support any and all approved missionary projects, ministries, and regions, according to a formula proposed by that plan (see infographic).
This formula, voted by the General Conference in 2002, was not invented by one mind, but was prayerfully devised by a study group, based on the Acts 1:8 model, to support equitably all local, regional, and global approved ministries and missionary projects.
In the infographic below, you will find how these unassigned offerings are distributed according to the Combined Offering Plan.
If you are giving in territories where the Adventist Church follows different offering plans,⁵ you may use the envelope (virtual or regular) to manually distribute your offering according to the percentages specified by the Combined Offering Plan (see infographic: 50-60 percent to the local church—church budget; 20-30 percent to the Conference Missionary Development; and 20 percent to the World Mission Fund). In that way you give the broadest efficiency to your “promise” (regular and systematic offering).
HOW DOES THE GENERAL CONFERENCE USE OFFERING FUNDS?
If you decide to follow the distribution suggested above, or if you are giving in regions that follow the Combined Offering Plan, 20 percent of your regular offerings (“promise”) will be directed to the World Mission Fund (or World Budget for NAD). This fund collects offerings at the General Conference level and equitably distributes them to all approved missionary projects around the world (see some examples below).
Just as a reminder, if you are giving in regions in which the Adventist Church follows different offering plans⁶ but are willing to assign 20 percent of your regular offerings to the missions (as suggested by the Combined Offering Plan), you must indicate World Mission Fund (or World Budget for NAD) on your envelope (regular or virtual). But if you give inside territories in which the church follows the Combined Offering Plan, 20 percent of all unassigned or loose offerings will be automatically directed to the World Mission Fund (or World Budget for NAD).
You will find below some examples of approved world missionary projects funded by the World Mission Fund,⁷ which is administered by the General Conference:
- Missionary Projects on the back of the Sabbath School study guides: Each quarter the Sabbath School study guide promotes different missionary projects in specific areas of the world, also supported by a proportion of the World Mission Fund.
- Global Mission: also uses funds provided by the World Mission Fund to start new groups of believers in unentered areas and among new people groups. Through Global Mission pioneers, urban centers of influence, tentmaking, Waldensian students, and other initiatives, thousands of new groups are being started around the world. Through 2018, for example, more than 3,000 projects have been initiated under the Global Mission banner to start new groups of believers in previously unentered areas of the world.
- ADRA: Responsible for development and relief work, attending to the needs of populations affected by natural, social, or economic disasters, like floods, fires, earthquakes, famines, and others.
- Adventist World Radio and Hope Channel: Together they are broadcasting in more than 300 languages in approximately 1,000 radio stations and studios, and 68 TV channels, aiming especially to reach non-Christians or postmoderns. AWR can be heard in places where evangelism is prohibited by law and sometimes punishable by death. There are also programs targeting high-population, less-evangelized areas of the world, such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
- Four Strategic International Adventist Universities. AU (Andrews University) and LLU (Loma Linda University) (both in North America), AUA (the Adventist University of Africa) (in Africa), and IAAS (Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies) (in Asia) receive students from around the world and prepare them to serve the world as missionaries.
- Unusual Opportunities:⁸ This fund is used when special mission-driven opportunities arise around the world. In 1992, for example, this fund was used just after the iron curtain fell and a sudden opportunity appeared for Pastor Mark Finley to preach inside the Kremlin, reaching 13,000 for 13 nights, with hundreds of baptisms!
THE MOST NEEDED KIND OF OFFERING
The most needed kind of offering is one that is given to worship Jesus (not to please oneself); that is aimed at fulfilling His broad commission (not to please any particular recipient or for the sake of getting power or influence in the religious community); which is given regularly, as regularly as the income is (not sporadically, spasmodically); which is given proportionally, according to that biblical principle, as a purposed percentage⁹ of every increase (not a random amount according to impulse); and finally, which is delivered to the Storehouse, and distributed equitably, following the threefold geographic segments mentioned by Christ in Acts 1:8 (instead of being distributed according to our discretion).
Jesus is coming, and we do not have too much time. The doors of opportunity are almost closing. Very soon what we still can easily do now we will need to accomplish at the risk of our lives. Now is the time to put our hopes and resources above, applying them where our Commander, Jesus, wants them to be! Tomorrow may be too late!
¹ Marcos Bomfim, “The Most Needed Kind of Offering in a Church With a Worldwide Mission, Part 1,” Dynamic Steward 24, no. 4: 20, 21, https://stewardship.adventist.org/the-most-needed-...; Marcos Bomfim, “The Most Needed Kind of Offering in a Church With a Worldwide Mission, Part 2,” Dynamic Steward 25, no. 1: 18, 19, https://stewardship.adventist.org/the-most-needed-....
² The world divisions or church’s administrative regions that follow the Combined Offering Plan are: CHUM (China Union Mission), ECD, ESD, IAD, MENAU, NSD, SAD, SID SPD (Island Fields), SSD, SUD, WAD. (You may find the explanation for the abbreviations in a map legend for the world divisions here: https://www.adventist.org/world-church/.)
³ If you want to know more about the Combined Offering Plan, access https://stewardship.adventist.org/combined-offering.
⁴ To know more about the concept of “promise” (regular and systematic offerings), access https://stewardship.adventist.org/combined-offering.
⁵ Access the following link to know more about the two other offering plans in use in some of the Seventh-day Adventist Church divisions or territories: https://stewardship.adventist.org/offering-plans. See also General Conference Working Policy 2020-2021, pp. 645-653.
⁶ See footnote 7.
⁷ The projects described are partially or totally supported by the General Conference World Mission Fund (or World Budget for NAD).
⁸ In the Combined Offering Plan, 0.84 percent of the offering sent to the General Conference is for Unusual Opportunities. In NAD’s Personal Giving Plan, 1 percent of the World Budget offering is for Fall Mission Appeal (Unusual Opportunities). In the Calendar of Offering Plan, the GC’s offering that is collected in September is for Unusual Opportunities.
⁹ For more information, see note 8.