On October 9, 2023, the fourth day of General Conference (GC) Annual Council, a vital treasurer’s report provided a bevy of information on the financial stability of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and a new multi-faceted approach to local church evangelism set to be implemented in 2024 and 2025 was introduced to Executive Committee members.
Treasurer’s Report Highlights Financial Stability While Acknowledging Worldwide Economic Challenges
Paul Douglas, GCe Treasurer, presented the annual Treasurer’s Report to the Executive Committee. While he highlighted the Church’s strong financial position, he also mentioned several economic headwinds that are being closely watched. In addition, Douglas specifically emphasized the importance of focusing on the Church’s mission.
Why it matters: The Treasurer’s Report provides critical statistics that help Executive Committee members make informed decisions on financial matters regarding the World Church, and highlights how the Church’s finances are impacting its global mission.
Driving the news: During the report, Douglas said the GC’s financial position is strong. Cash and net assets are up 9.4 percent and 0.28 percent, respectively, while investments are slightly down 6.5 percent.
- Tithe is up by 7.9 percent; offerings have also increased by 42.8 percent.
- Douglas presented three new initiatives currently being implemented between the GC and division treasury departments that will ensure resources are being allocated to have the greatest impact possible. “Mission Refocus is an intentional push to move resources that have been focused on machinery and repurpose them on the mission,” he said.
Yes, but: Inflation, rising interest rates, and rising currency exchange rates all pose formidable challenges to the financial side of the church’s mission. “We live today in a period that can best be described as economic recovery coupled with economic uncertainty,” Douglas said.
Of note: During the Treasurer’s Report, the proposed GC World Appropriations and Allocations budget for the 2024 fiscal year was discussed in detail by Ray Whalen, GC undertreasurer. Although some funding cuts during the pandemic are now being returned to pre-pandemic levels, because of unpredictable economic conditions, the department is still taking a relatively conservative approach to the budget.
What people are saying: “I want to assure you today that our budget process and priorities here at the General Conference are going through a period of studying with the expected outcome to exemplify to the church what it means to put our money where the mission is,” Douglas said.
- “I want to affirm Paul Douglas for this wonderful report. It is unusual for the treasurer to talk about mission,” said G.T. Ng, the former GCe executive secretary.
By the numbers: The report was accepted by a 198-1 vote.
Go deeper: Read our full coverage of the Treasurer’s Report coming soon.
New Initiative Plans to Add Intentionality to Evangelism Plans for Local Churches
During the afternoon business session, Jim Howard, GC Sabbath School, and Personal Ministries director, highlighted a new initiative called “Global Total Member Involvement.” The Global Total Member Involvement initiative, which can serve as the foundation of a local church’s evangelism planning, is a multi-faceted approach that aims to foster a universal culture of evangelism and disciple-making.
Why it matters: The initiative serves as a framework for local church evangelism and will play a key role in worldwide mission refocus.
Driving the news: Howard says they hope to see the most baptisms over the next two years through this plan. “If every church around the world has evangelistic reaping meetings, imagine the growth that we could have.”
- The five-step framework encourages churches to move from single-event evangelism to an “active, ongoing mission that happens continually.”
Of note: Implementation will begin in 2024 and 2025.
What people are saying: “This is not a top-down program with everything in line,” said Ted Wilson, GC president. “It is your program, but all of us will be involved in “Global TMI.”
Go deeper: Stay tuned to read our full report on Global TMI or visit www.globaltmi.org.
Additionally: ADRA celebrated 40 years of worldwide service during its annual membership meeting.