Discussing the Budget
n Tuesday morning, General Conference treasurer Robert Lemon presented a detailed financial report to the delegates.
According to Lemon, the annual average of worldwide tithes was $1.187 billion for the last quinquennium, supplemented by $594 million in offerings. Out of the combined total of $1.781 billion, $124 million was allocated to the GC ($74 million in tithe and $50 million in offerings). In addition, on average during 2000-2004, the GC received approximately $9 million from donations and $19 million from restricted sources, bequests, investment earnings, and fees for services provided. This brought the total GC annual revenue in the past quinquennium to approximately $152 million.
Lemon explained to the delegates that the largest percentage of these funds received by the GC-57 percent-was distributed in appropriations to divisions and GC institutions. The remaining funds were allocated as follows: 13 percent-IDEs (interdivision employees), 19 percent-GC headquarters (cost of operating world headquarters, including staff and office complex), 10 percent-GC administered funds (including Adventist Television Network, Sow One Billion, Go One Million, and GC session expenses), and 1 percent-other. Operating costs for the GC in 2004 were 2.04 percent of worldwide tithe, or 1.5 percent of total worldwide tithe and offerings. The operating cap being transitioned to is 2 percent of worldwide tithe.
Lemon referred to comments made by some who feel that more money is spent on GC operations than is necessary, and that those funds could be spent more wisely in local conferences and churches. But pointing out the small percentage of income actually used for operating the church's world headquarters, he said, "It's not nearly as much as some people think. . . . If you closed down the entire operation here, you could give a 2 percent raise to all of the employees. That's the bottom line of what it amounts to"
Lemon also reported out that during the past 25 years, mission offerings have remained almost static at approximately $50 million. During the same period, tithe has gone up from $398 million to $1.3 billion, a 226 percent increase.
"The mission offering is such a major portion of the funds available to the world field, in order to enter new areas. . . . We have to spend real time on studying how to deal with that issue," said Lemon.
Financial Statement and Budget
Following Lemon's report, Steven Rose, undertreasurer of the General Conference, presented an interim financial statement, as of September 30, 2005. His figures indicated a total year-to-date tithe income for 2005 of $53,740,638, compared to $51,462,941 during the same period in 2004. Rose also reported a combined world mission offering of $36,312,952, an increase of 7 percent over 2004.
Also discussed was how the current year's budget and offerings received are directly supporting the "Tell the World" initiative and the intent of GC treasury to strategically budget and align its resources with this program.
After a brief discussion, delegates voted to accept the treasury reports.
Global Impact of Adventist World Recognized
"This is a time to give thanks,"Adventist Review editor William Johnsson told the delegates Tuesday morning. "One year ago the Annual Council voted the concept of a new periodical for the world-Adventist World-and one year later we want to give a report of and thanks for this new publication."
What Are People Saying?
World division leaders shared how Adventist World (AW) is already having an impact in their regions. Holding Spanish and French versions of AW, Inter-American president Israel Leito said, "Because the majority of our field is trilingual, we [felt we] should have it for all Adventists to read. . . . We are hoping to have it in every Adventist home in the Inter-American Division."
Laurie Evans, president of the South Pacific Division, added that Adventist World is being sent not only to church members in Australia and New Zealand but also to those living in the island fields, which make up 85 percent of the division's members. "It's a wonderful blessing to us," he said.
Johnsson then introduced Northern Asia-Pacific Division president Jairyong Lee, whom he described as "a key player in making this big project possible."
"I believe that this magazine will contribute significantly to the global unity of the world church," said Lee. "Some school teachers are using this magazine in the classrooms, selecting some articles from the magazine and translating them together with their students. And some churches are sending this magazine to . . . missing members, pastors of other denominations, university professors, and many other professional people who can read English. I am very happy that we have this magazine in the church."
Who's Reading It?
"Adventist World is going to Iraq; it is going to Mongolia; it is going north and south and east and west," said Johnsson. "The initial printing in September was 1.1 million copies in English. We figure that every copy has about five touches, so we're looking at more than 5 million people [reading AW] in English alone. Praise the Lord!"
Who Were the Supporters?
The visioning and support of GC president Jan Paulsen, AW international publishing manager P. D. Chun, and NAD president Don Schneider were recognized as Johnsson presented each one with a framed copy of the first issue of Adventist World. Paulsen then surprised Johnsson by recognizing the "commitment and creative energy" he and the Adventist Review staff have exhibited in developing the new publication, and also presented Johnsson with a framed copy of AW.
"I see Adventist World as the instrument to speak to the whole world church about the values and the identity that define the Seventh-day Adventist Church," Paulsen told the delegates. "It is God's plan. I see it as an instrument of unity. . . . This paper is part of God's answer to help keep before our people the values that particularly are part of our heritage."
How's the Word Getting Out?
The short program concluded with an effective illustration of the varied methods of worldwide AW distribution, such as by "air, train, truck, bicycle, foot-and even by wagon"-when 9-year-old Kylie Kajiura pulled a red wagon full of copies of AW to the platform, tugged on Johnsson's pant leg, and asked him whether he had gotten his October copy of Adventist World. When he attempted to engage her in conversation, Kylie replied, "I'm sorry I can't talk. I have a lot of work to do. I have to make sure everyone gets their October issue of Adventist World."
Nominating Committee Report
On Tuesday morning, the Executive Committee Nominating Committee brought a partial report to the delegates, recommending the names of individuals to fill several leadership positions in the church and to serve as members of General Conference boards and committees. Delegates voted to accept all the names presented.
Those voted into leadership positions were all incumbents, and include the following:
- Adventist Review
Associate editors-Roy Adams, William Knott
- Adventist Television Network
- Archives and Statistics
- Sabbath School Bible Study Guides
Adult: Editor-Clifford Goldstein; associate editor-Soraya Parish
Collegiate: Editor-Lyndelle Chiomenti
Cornerstone Connection, Power Points: Editor-Kathleen Beagles
Beginners, Kindergarten, Primary: Editor-Pat Habada
- Biblical Research Institute
Associate directors- Kwabena Donkor, Ekkehardt Mueller, Gerhard Pfandl
- Geoscience Research Institute
Director-L. James Gibson
Research scientists-Ben Clausen, Raul Esperante, Tim Standish
- Christian Record Services
Vice president for finance-Dwayne Bullock
- Journal of Adventist Education
Members were also elected for the following boards and committees:
- Adventist Development and Relief Agency Board
- Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies Board; Eugene Hsu, chair
- Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies Management Committee; Eugene Hsu, chair
- Adventist World Radio
- Christian Record Services Board of Trustees; Ted Wilson, chair
- Home Study International/Griggs University Board of Directors; Ella Simmons, chair
- General Conference Financial Audit Review Committee; Max Trevino, chair