Have you ever felt that you are putting your money into a black hole when you give your weekly mission offerings? Maybe you should think about it more as dumping your offerings into the river, not to get rid of them, but to help mission flourish around the world.
Mission offerings don’t seem to get as much attention anymore yet they’re still vitally important to supporting work around the world. Think of your mission offerings as a river flowing through the entire world providing life-giving water to help sustain the mission fields.
You probably know countries and projects that are supported by part of your 13th Sabbath offering. But what about the regular mission offerings you give each week? Where do they go? What do they support and what do they achieve? You may be surprised to learn that your weekly mission offerings help support the work of about 400 missionary families around the world. In fact, 70% of the weekly mission offerings each quarter helps to support overseas missionaries and the international work of the church.
Appropriations from the General Conference to world divisions, the Middle East North Africa Union Mission, and the Israel field help these regions build and sustain Mission activities and their territories—like water irrigating fields when there’s not enough rain.
The remaining money helps various institutions and agencies that serve the World Church. For example, it helps the compassionate medical mission work of Loma Linda University, the outreach of Adventist World Radio, and the humanitarian ministry of ADRA, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.
In recent years, millions of people from challenging areas of the world have found salvation in Jesus and have joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In 2018 every 22 seconds someone became an Adventist and every 4 hours and new church was organized. Thanks to your offerings and the global mission focus thousands of new congregations have been established in unreached areas and among new people groups.
But after these new believers have been baptized how are they nurtured? How do we make sure that their new faith is strengthened and they grow as disciples? Your river of mission offerings helps grow and sustain new work throughout the world.
Please keep this life-giving river flowing. Thank you for your faithful weekly mission offerings and your continuing prayers for Adventist Mission.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is known around the world for its mission outreach and your mission offerings are the workhorse of these efforts. These offerings do the heavy lifting and foundation-laying; the repair and renovation of the basic structure of the church’s work around the world. Without the mission offerings, all the other structures and systems built upon it could crumble. Your mission offerings are like a life-giving river with tributaries flowing around the world carrying refreshing water to mission fields.
Sometimes we want to give to a specific project or to put our offerings towards something special that stirs our hearts. We see the results. We feel satisfied. Giving to the mission offering may not be as glamorous as giving to a specific well-advertised project or program. But wait! If it weren’t for mission offering to sustain them these projects would never happen.
So what happens to our tithes and offerings? Well, when we returned 10% of our income as tithe to God the Adventist Church uses it to support pastors and evangelists as well as some teachers and other workers involved in spreading the gospel. On the front lines of mission, tithe is not used to fund orphanages, schools, or health programs. And it doesn’t cover miscellaneous operational expenses either. The mission offering does this.
You see, our mission offerings fund what can’t be funded through tithe. So, when mission giving falls, then work gets cut back worldwide. Mission projects falter. The movement stutters. None of us want this to happen. So, our mission offerings help ensure that mission work operates continuously around the world.
Want to see how our giving impacts people around the globe? Mission 360 TV programs, Mission Spotlight, and the mission quarterlies offer regular updates on mission around the world. These stories take you to dozens of countries to see what Adventists are doing in places you may have never even heard of.
And what about the 13th Sabbath offering which began in 1912. For many years this offering was an overflow offering. A budget was set to fund the mission program and once that money was raised any extra, the overflow, was used to support a special project chosen for that quarter.
However, during the recession of the 1970s there was no overflow offering. So church leaders voted to always send 25% of the offering collected on the 13th Sabbath to support specific projects for each division on a rotational basis. Through your 13th Sabbath offerings, you have helped build schools, dormitories, hospitals, clinics in church buildings, launched mission boats, and set up lamb shelters, printing presses, universities, and more. Altogether more than a thousand projects! And because tithe money can’t be used for buildings the 13th Sabbath offering has frequently been used for construction projects. All of this could have never happened without the Holy Spirit leading and your regular faithful support of the mission offerings.
We encourage you to join Adventists everywhere to prayerfully consider what you can do to keep a faithful river of mission offerings bringing life-giving water to mission fields around the world.
(Used with permission from Adventist Mission, published February 2021)