"I return tithes and offerings to the Church, but can you tell me where it all goes?" I hear this question every so often, so it's a good question to address.
Before I answer "where," I did a little research on the web, and found some interesting, yet sad statistics about giving in general...here are 2 examples...
Nationwide, Christians now give less per capita than during the Great Depression
Christians making less than $20k, are 8 times more likely to give than someone who makes more than $75k
These statistics are surprising. I was raised by a Mom who had unwavering faith in God and His promises, and a passion to serve Him with her whole heart, demonstrating that commitment to Him with both her time and money. Mom passed this legacy of faith to her children and God has proven His faithfulness to us over and over again.
I kept digging and found a few more statistics that were much more encouraging!
8 out of 10 Christians who regularly give, have less debt regardless of their income (perhaps better money managers? Or could it be they are blessed because of their giving?)
77% of those who tithe, give 11%-20% or more of their income
97% of Christians who tithe, make it a top financial priority to give additional offerings to support their local church
Giving tithes and offerings were not commanded because God lacks any resources, but were for our benefit. It's to teach us how to keep God FIRST in our lives and how to be unselfish people. Unselfish people make better husbands, wives, friends, relatives, employees and employers. God is trying to teach us how to prosper in ALL areas of our lives. The word “give” is used more than 1,400 times in the Bible, relating to giving praise, giving wealth, and giving oneself, among others, inviting us to participate in the work of God. Mature Christians recognize their income is not their own, that all good things, even our ability to work, comes from our Heavenly Father. God wants us to be good stewards of the resources He entrusts to our care.
But back to the question of where the Tithes and Offerings go?
Unlike many other denominations, where tithes stay in the local church, the Adventist model supports all ministers more equitably. A detailed description of how tithes are used can be found at: https://www.washingtonconference.org/give/tithe-offering, but in brief, all Tithes and Conference offering funds are sent directly to the Conference to support all ministers, teachers and other Conference Ministries.
So what offerings support Edmonds Adventist Church? "Church Budget" supports the local church and is the primary way to make sure we have a beautiful place to worship and fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Church Budget covers all office expenses including payroll, building maintenance, utilities, insurances, janitorial, landscaping, and school subsidy expenses. Church Budget also helps support Children's ministries, decorations, kitchen supplies, outreach, tech support, welcome ministry, and special events.
In addition to Church Budget, there are ministries supported by directed donations, such as Children's Ministries, the Roof Fund and many others.
Edmonds Adventist Church's ministries are growing, evidence that our members are giving more of their time and talents. Our members demonstrate their real heart for God by their financial support as well. It's exciting to see God working in the lives of His people and the growth of His Church.
For a complete list of all line items covered by the Church Budget and/or the self-funded ministries, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.