World Church budget prioritises mission

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Continuing tradition, the two largest components of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world budget this year will fund appropriations for administrative and mission work outside of North America and fund operation of the world headquarters building.

The denomination’s US$159.4 million budget for 2011 continues support of mission work—about $37.5 million in appropriations to world fields, with an additional $26 million for missionaries and employees in other world regions.

We are budgeting for 2011 in an economy that’s giving us less money than we need, but it’s a balanced budget

Operating costs for the denomination’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, is limited to 2 per cent of world tithe, about $38 million this year.

“We are budgeting for 2011 in an economy that’s giving us less money than we need, but it’s a balanced budget,” said church undertreasurer Juan R. Prestol.

While appropriations to the world field increased slightly, two of the 12 receiving world divisions will draw less in appropriations from tithe compared to last year. The Inter-American and South American divisions will receive 13 percent and 7 percent less, respectively, in tithe appropriations. Most receiving divisions are allocated appropriations from both tithe and non-tithe funds totalling between $1 million and $4 million annually. Prestol said the trend in Latin America acknowledges the church’s “maturity” there, as well as “financial strength and growth”.

The money saved will be sent to the 10/40 window, an area of the world from 10 degrees latitude north to 40 degrees latitude north from North Africa to East Asia, where only about 1 percent of the population is Christian.

The South Pacific Division (SPD) is one of the few regions that are net contributors to the world church. Thanks to members’ tithes and offerings, the SPD contributes around $A6 million annually to the General Conference budget.

“When members return tithe there is a system in place for that to be used to support both local ministry and ministry in other countries—that is a brilliant aspect of the Church’s stewardship program,” said SPD chief financial officer, Rodney Brady.

There is some return from the General Conference, however. $A1.9 million is allocated to the SPD in “base appropriations”. Additionally, the world church provides free services, including Hope Channel programming, Global Mission project funding and administrative and training support.

“We are each called to be part of taking the gospel to all the world,” said Rodney Brady, “and sharing resources to make that happen is a very important way that we can all participate.”