SOUTH CARIBBEAN CONFERENCE Cor. Eastern Main Road & Deane Street St Augustine Port of Spain, Trinidad, W.I. Tele: (868) 662-7024/5356/6121/6122 Fax: (868)645-3551 A Reference Guide To Informed Giving II Corinthians 9:12 NIV “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” Topics included in this guide • • • • • • • • • • An ageless formula for prosperity A brief look at the tithe slip General use of the tithe Where is the storehouse Systematic giving Local Congregation needs Local Conference needs Worldwide Church needs Personal choice giving plan Estate Planning An ageless Formula for ProsperityThe Biblical Perspective 1. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And all nation shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts. –Malachi 3:10, 12 (KJV) 2. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again” Luke 6:38 (KJV) God’s greatest delight is in the fulfillment of his own promises. When a man returns to Him, His portion. God honors His promise and rewards that man’s faithfulness. God’s prosperity is not limited to material possession. He blesses in every way. A Brief look at the Tithe Slip * Tithe – for the work of Gospel ministry * Offerings : 60-20-20 Local church 60%; Conference Dev.20% World Missions,20% The General Use of the Tithe “The portion that God has reserved for Himself is not to be diverted to any other purpose than that which He has specified. Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in emergency, nor to apply as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord’s work. Not even the minister should retain and apply it (the tithe) according to his own judgment because he is a minister.” Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 247, 248. Where is the Storehouse? The question, Where should the tithe be sent often comes up in the church. However, the Bible is explicitly clear about this. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse….” – Malachi 3:10 (KJV) In O.T. times the tithe was used for the temple services. “When God delivered Israel form Egypt…. He told them again about the tithing system and the support of the services of the tabernacle.” -In of the Storehouse by G. Edward Reid. Search It is God – not the church – who determines the use of the tithe. His command is to return the tithe by placing it in the offering plate at the organized community. church in your local The Worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is governed by the General Conference and organized on different levels to carry out the work of God in the world, is God’s storehouse. The Spirit of Prophecy supports this teaching. “…let our gifts be not to one another, but to the house of God … shall we not turn all our offerings into God’s treasury? … Will those who profess to be Christians see this matter in its true bearing? Will they awake to a sense of their obligation to God, and render to Him His own?” Adventist Review & Sabbath Herald, December 8, 1896m p. 2. Salvation is free to all, but the work of carrying the good news of salvation to the seven billion plus inhabitants in the world, costs money – money to pay all categories of workers, money for evangelism, money for Bibles, and other reading materials, money to build churches, schools, and health institutions – and the list goes on. A major aspect of the gospel work is the care of humanity – addressing the physical, social, and spiritual needs of people. For these reasons, and more, God has designed the tithing and offering system. God has made every provision to met that cost. We become a channel of blessing when we return God’s tithe and give a systematic, sacrificial offering. And in return, He blesses us abundantly. The Blessings of Systematic Giving Because of the biblical principles and encouragement of the early church pioneers, returning a faithful tithe (10% of gross income) and giving a systematic, sacrificial offering was established as a norm for God’s people. This is a biblical principle. The Old testament speaks of the Israelites giving up to a quarter (25%) of their income to the temple. The first ten percent(10%) was for the support of the priesthood. The rest was offerings, given to support the poor and other forms of the work of God. Ellen G. White wrote, “The contribution required of the Hebrews for religious and charitable purposes amounted to fully one fourth of their income. So heavy a tax upon the resources of the people might be expected to reduce them to poverty; but, on the contrary, the faithful observance of these regulations was one of the conditions of their prosperity.” - Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 527. Local Congregation Needs Ellen G. White wrote, “His people today are to remember that the house of worship is the Lord’s property and that it is to be scrupulously cared for. But the funds for this work are not to come from the tithe but from freewill offerings.“ vol. 9, p. 248. Testimonies for the Church, The local church has many ministry– related needs and maintenance, operational Sabbath costs: School utilities, supplies, Christian Education and Evangelism, among other expenses. These needs are met by the systematic giving of freewill offerings and special gifts by the church members. Worldwide Church Needs The liberality of each church member is helping to fulfill the gospel commission to all the world. The Lord has blessed His church with significant growth through the years. The world membership now stands at 15, 435,470 (June 30, 2007) and continues to grow by the thousands every day. The General Conference supports over one thousand (1000) full-time missionaries around the world and fund hundreds of Global Mission projects every year. The General Conference supports over one thousand (1000) full-time missionaries around the world and fund hundreds of Global Mission projects every year. The ratio of S.D.A. to non S.D.A. in Trinidad is 1 to 90 based on an active membership of 15,000. The world ratio is 1 to 400 plus and rising. The church must confront the challenge of taking the everlasting gospel to the entire world, despite the cost, we must rise to the occasion. KNOWING HOW THE TITHE DOLLAR IS UTILISED EDUCATION The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trinidad operates seven (7) privately funded and five (5) state-assisted primary schools; three (3) privately funded secondary schools and provide supervision for more than ten (10) pre-schools. (17.5) cents of each tithe dollar is given to subsidize the cost of Christian education in the Conference. RETIREMENT The work of the S.D.A. church in Trinidad started in 1891. Since then, many of our workers have passed on and are awaiting the second Coming of Jesus. Many who have served long and hard are presently enjoying retirement. Others are planning for their retirement as they look forward to that day (should time permit) when the baton would be passed on to younger workers. (12.5) cents of each tithe dollar is placed into a retirement fund to assist our retired workers in their golden years Caribbean Union Conference This administrative level of the church supervises the development of the church in the Caribbean. Ten (10) cents of each tithe dollar goes to the Caribbean Union to support the work of the church in the Caribbean territory. Inter-American Division This administrative level of the church coordinates the development of the work in one of the thirteen divisions of the World Church. Some countries making up our Division are: Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, the Caribbean islands and others. Ten (10) cents of each tithe dollar is given to the Inter-American Division. Publishing Ministry The publishing work is to a large extent self sufficient. Half (0.5) of a cent of each tithe dollar is given for the purpose of assisting literature evangelists and promoting the work of the publishing ministry. Administration The operation of the Conference is conducted in a manner to obtain maximum value for/ every dollar spent. The cost of operating the office, subsidies to departments, funding the work of evangelism, and salaries are major funding activities of the Conference. (46) cents of each tithe dollar is used to cover the cost of administering the operation of the Conference. Savings Every good steward saves a portion of his income and the Conference is no different Three and one half (3.5) cents of each tithe dollar is reserved by the conference as a savings. Local Conference Needs A conference with 157 churches and companies. 15 schools including 3 secondary schools, more than 260 full-time employees and one resort surely has needs. The daily operational costs of the South Caribbean Conference management. require wise financial The majority of funds the Conference expends come from tithes returned by faithful members. However there are areas of expenditure that cannot be funded by the tithe. Most of these are in the area of capital development (buildings & fixtures). Personal Choice Giving (60-20-20) The philosophy of giving in the Seventh-day Adventist church is one that encourages our members to give unselfishly to the mission of the church, both at home and abroad. From all the offerings collected 60% of it stay with the local church to fund its operations. 20% of it is used by the Conference for the purpose of capital development; and 20% is sent to the General Conference to advance the mission of the church around the world. Estate Planning and Distribution The South Caribbean Conference has competent personnel to counsel members as a free service in planning their family’s estate. Help is available to prepare documents for: charitable gifts; and wills. Anyone who need assistance in these areas may call the Stewardship and Trust Services department of the Conference at 662-6121/2.