2013 Adventist World Budget Focus
Is Mission, Administrative Support

$42.4 million goes to fields outside of North America. (Posted January 24, 2013)

BY ANSEL OLIVER, Adventist News Network

The 2013 budget of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world headquarters funds mission work and administrative support outside of North America, as well as the operation of the headquarters building.

The Adventist Church’s nearly US$174 million world budget this year allocates about $42.4 million in appropriations to the fields outside of North America. An additional $28.5 million in appropriations funds missionaries and employees serving in other divisions.

Operating costs for the denomination’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, is limited to 2 percent of world tithe, which for 2013 is set for roughly $44 million. Church finance officers said they again expect headquarters to operate substantially below that cap.

For decades, the headquarters has operated significantly under the operating cap, making more resources available for world fields, said Juan R. Prestol, undertreasurer for the Adventist world church.

BUDGET BRIEFING: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Undertreasurer Juan R. Prestol, shown here addressing 2012 Annual Council delegates, outlined details of the 2013 budget for the world church. “The church is very purposeful, very deliberate, very persistent, and we’re continuing to move toward the objectives and the goal to enter every country and people group possible,” he said. [PHOTO: Ansel Oliver/ANN]
Prestol underscored that the world church budget includes only items relating to the movement’s world headquarters and does not include the reported incomes or budgets for its 13 divisions or respective local administrative units and congregations. The world budget includes headquarters operations, interdivision employees, and appropriations to world divisions and General Conference institutions and programs.

Prestol highlighted the steady planning of church officials and finance officers. “Some organizations fluctuate more in the way they budget things. The church is not like that. We attempt to forge ahead. Once we enter an area, we want to continue until the work is established and self-sufficient. It takes years to do that, though.”

This year’s world budget includes the newly created Middle East North Africa Union, which is attached directly to the Adventist Church headquarters.

Receiving divisions other than North America are allocated appropriations of between $1.3 million and $4.8 million. The 2013 world budget also includes a 2 percent increase over 2012 appropriations levels.

Prestol said world budgets since the 2008 economic downturn have “been planned to provide stability and strategic support for growth in needed areas.”

“The church is very purposeful, very deliberate, very persistent, and we’re continuing to move toward the objectives and the goal to enter every country and people group possible,” he said.

Prestol said about 65 percent of the denomination’s funding is received in one of nine currencies, including the U.S. dollar, Brazilian real, euro, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, Mexican peso, Korean won, and the Philippine peso.

The United States remains the largest giver of mission offerings of any country. In 2011 the denomination’s North American Division gave $23.4 million in mission offerings, or about 30 percent of the total of about $80 million in mission offerings.

Prestol also highlighted the change in modern times of the denomination’s missionaries funded by the world budget. The $28.5 million for missionaries (interdivision employees) in decades past often funded frontline workers. Now, he said, they more commonly fund missionaries who provide steady administrative support and mentor frontline workers from the local people group.

Other major appropriations identified in the 2013 General Conference world budget include:

$8.3 million for Loma Linda University
$5.5 million for Adventist World magazine
$4.9 million for Andrews University
$4.7 million for Hope Channel
$2.4 million for the Ellen G. White Estate
$2.3 million for Adventist World Radio
$1.4 million for the 2015 General Conference session
$1.2 million for Oakwood University
$1.1 million for the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies
$1.1 million for the Geoscience Research Institute
$1 million for the Adventist University of Africa.

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