“ I don’t know what impression you’re taking with you as you leave these meetings but we still have a great mission to fulfill,” said Inter-American Division (IAD) President Pastor Elie Henry, as dozens of top church administrators and leaders concluded their business meetings recently.
“There is still a great field to prepare, the message to be shared and that’s why we should leave here to motivate our church members, inspire our church board to take solid and daring decisions to do extraordinary things for God,” said Pastor Henry.
It’s not about pin pointing particular times to fulfill the mission, but every moment is appropriate to preach the Word of God and carry out His will” said Pastor Henry.
His appeal came at the end of Inter-America’s Mid-Year Meetings held in Miami, Florida, United States, on Apr. 30, 2019, where more than 130 executive committee members voted strategies, plans, policies and events to expand the mission of the church across vast cities and rural areas in during the next 15 months.
That mission can only be carried out thanks to the tithe and offering contributed by faithful church members who are committed to seeing the gospel expand throughout every corner of the territory and around the world, said Pastor Filiberto Verduzco, treasurer of the church in Inter-America, as he presented the financial stability of 2018 and projections for this year.
“There isn’t a more important element in the financial system of this organization than the church member,” said Verduzco. “Time and time again the church member in Inter-America is impressed by the Holy Spirit to give generous offerings to allow us to finance this mission,” he added.
Only four years out of the 37 years resulted in a negative annual financial growth, he said. In 2018, the yearly grown percentage in salary was 10.14 % which marked a momentous year in the financial system, even with all of the soft currencies that exist in the territory. The average annual growth in the past 37 years was 6%.
In comparison, mission offerings during that period of time was an average of 5%. However, in 2018, offerings were even better at 11%. “We praise the Lord for how He has blessed members with a spirit of gratitude and commitment to the mission,” said Verduzco.
Transparency and Accountability
The church member needs to be watchfully cared for because there is nothing more important in the church, said Verduzco.
“As administrators we must be transparent and accountable, efficient and effective so the church member can continue giving with confidence,” said Verduzco. “This is the top responsibility the church has given us because tithes and offerings finance the mission of the church.”
That transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness needs to be at every single level of the church from the local church level, the local mission/conference, the union, and at the division level so that the financial system in Inter-American can function appropriately, said Verduzco.
Currently, the average Inter-American church member donates US $0.34 as offering for every $1 of tithe he or she contributes, reported Verduzco. The challenge for administrators and leaders is to double efforts and reach the global world church goal of $0.50 cents per $1 of tithe.
It’s a challenge that the church in Inter-America can reach with hard work and stronger stewardship initiatives and activities, which have already been doubling across the territory.
Treasury staff also went over the financial report for 2018, the projected division operation budget for the next quinquennium, the legal environment in several countries in the territory and its impact on the operation of the IAD. In addition, auditing notes from 2017, financial inspection oversight service of churches and organizations needing auditing were reviewed, as well as and financial information for hundreds of delegates to the Adventist world church’s General Conference Session next year was studied.
As of March 31, 2019, IAD’s working capital was at 239%and liquidity at 217% percent.
Executive committee members also voted to approve additional upcoming events and initiatives that fall under the IAD’s three major pressing goals to focus on: evangelism, education, and community service, as follows:
The Missionary Book of the Year for 2020 to be distributed across the IAD will be Hope Beyond Tomorrow by Mark Finley. Both of IAD’s publishing houses IADPA and GEMA will print over 10.5 million copies. They will be distributed next year.
Inter-America’s Health Summit will be held to promote health among administrators, church leaders and health ministries directors across the territory. The event will take place Jan. 21-27, 2020 at a venue still to be determined.
Retreat for Pastor’s Children will be the first such territory-wide event organized to focus on the nurture and development of pastor’s kids across Inter-America. The event is scheduled to take place Feb. 7-8, 2020, in Miami, Florida.
Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Regional Convocation for the three Americas will take place Feb. 23-26, 2020, in Cancun, Mexico, and will include delegates from the South America, Inter-America and North America divisions.
Strong>Inter-America’s Personal Ministries Congress will take place following the regional convocation for three Americas in Cancun, Mexico, Feb. 27, 2020.
Committee members also voted to appoint Adolfo Ruiz as general manager for Mexico’s four health food companies, and Juan Martin as general manager for nine health food companies across Central America, the Caribbean, Colombia and Venezuela. Both had been working for the Inter-American Health Food Company for decades, Ruiz as production manager and Juan Martin as finance manager under the general manager, which was led by Filiberto Verduzco since 2015.
The Inter-American Health Food Company will continue to be overseen by the of Inter-American Division administration.
To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America and its initiatives and events, visit interamerica.org