Measures to reduce expenses have been taken to optimize resources and further strengthen the mission of preaching the gospel.
In its most recent report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released projections that take into account the economic effects caused mainly by the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe. According to these data, the Fund’s estimate is a 4.9% decline in global growth in 2020.
For 2021, the projection is for growth of 5.4%, but the Fund warns that, if there is a wave of infections next year, this number may fall by 0.5%. In Brazil, according to the IMF, Brazil’s economy is expected to shrink 9.1% this year.
The scenario of caution and concern, some months ago, prompted immediate reactions from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America. Several measures have been adopted, for some time, to reorganize administrative expenses with a very clear purpose: to optimize resources for to follow strongly in fulfilling the mission of preaching the gospel.
“The moment is one of gratitude to God, because the Lord is sending the means for missionary projects to remain strong, relevant and with a profound impact on the spiritual life of thousands of people”, comments Pastor Erton Köhler, president of the Adventist Church in America from the South. He further adds that “in the midst of this unfavorable social and economic scenario, the Adventist Church recounts its accounts and makes every effort to remain active, in person or in virtual form, and therefore deeply focused on the mission . ”
Pastor Marlon Lopes, chief financial officer of the South American Adventist headquarters, explains that the biggest reductions occurred on three fronts: expenses with people, administrative and with events and materials. A survey shows the comparison of these expenses, in reais, between January and May 2019 and the same period, now in 2020, at the headquarters located in Brasília.
The figures are as follows: drop of 18.43% in personnel expenses (payments of salaries to people who work in the administrative headquarters of the Adventist organization); decrease of 31.34% in administrative expenses and 83.56% decrease in expenses with events and materials. The prospect is that, globally, the reductions will be even greater, as the trend is that these changes will reach all the administrative headquarters of the territory, as is the case of Associations, Missions, Unions and institutions.
At the same time, data shows that, in the same period evaluated (accumulated up to May 2020 compared to the accumulated period up to May 2019), the entry of tithes grew by 1.07% and offers remained at 0, 19%.
Simplification and automation
A few years ago, studies to reduce expenses at Adventist administrative headquarters have been a reality. Several measures are adopted, many of them aimed at simplifying and automating processes. In practice, this reduces the need for more people and makes it possible to carry out more activities with fewer resources.
Pastor Marlon Lopes exemplifies the data. He explains that the accounting area at the South American headquarters, in Brasilia, works with the concept of zero paper (that is, fewer impressions, with the advancement of digitalization of services and records) and centralization of some Business Intelligence (BI) systems . These BI processes help to organize data for analysis and monitoring to ensure that the information needed for decisions at all hierarchical levels is made more organized and faster.
At the same time, department directors at Adventist Church headquarters for eight South American countries have seen budget cuts this year and next year, without compromising missionary work that takes place especially in local congregations.
“We are re-discussing everything and projecting progress in the coming years. The Church has been working for a long time to further optimize resources in administrative areas in order to strengthen the mission of preaching the gospel of salvation. We work tirelessly and we will increase efforts in this direction, because we understand that God expects this of us and we only have reason to be grateful for everything that has happened ”, concludes the financial director.