Unified strategies optimize investments and strengthen evangelistic results
Currency fluctuations, unemployment, and other economic factors that have rocked the world over the past two years have had a direct impact on the finances of the Adventist Church. However, even amid the rise and fall of the indicators, the loyalty of the members and their commitment to the mission made it possible to advance evangelistic initiatives and attention to the community, despite a scenario permeated by uncertainties.
Proof of this is the report presented by the treasury of the South American Adventist headquarters to its Plenary Board of Directors, which shows an increase in tithe returns during the pandemic crisis that has hit the planet since last year. In April 2020, the number of people who donated fell by 43%. However, in April 2021, a year later, members who returned their tithes rose 31% over the same period last year.
In just the first four months of this year, about 10% of the tithes were returned through the 7me platform, which enables the action electronically, in addition to offering various services to the member. Expanding mainly in Hispanic countries, the tool brings transparency and security and could have an even greater share of growth in front of the more than 2.5 million Adventists living in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.
“We have received blessings that must be converted into blessings for others to know the gospel,” says Pastor Marlon Lopes, financial director of the Adventist Church for eight South American countries. “The money God gives has a purpose. If He is giving us this in the midst of the pandemic, we need to go even further.” In 2019, 26.21% of the total tithes received in South America were used for direct evangelism. In 2020, the percentage rose to 35.06%.
This advance has even occurred with the adoption of new technologies and solutions to reduce costs and allocate such resources to missionary fronts. One of them is the adhesion of systems that discard the use of paper and tools to avoid displacements, as in the case of signing contracts and documents, which now take place digitally. This economy is directly employed on missionary fronts.
The faithfulness of members in tithes and offerings is closely linked to attendance at local church services. Each Adventist’s involvement in prayer services, Bible study classes, and other church activities directly impacts how one uses resources to proclaim the good news found in the Bible.
For example, in a temple with 100 members, 56 attend services frequently, while 23 do not. The others, for some reason, are no longer active, either because of abandonment of faith or loss of contact with the congregation.
“The more experienced in life, the more these members [diminish],” points out Lopes. In 2021 alone, of the total number of tithe payers, 24.52%, the highest rate, are over 60 years old, while 8.37% are between 17 and 30. That is why, according to him, the evangelistic initiatives also play a key role in the process of strengthening the faith of those who have been in the church for whatever length of time.
Its report, in addition to the numbers, drew attention to the need, in a time of constant change, to adopt new methods to support the mission, such as digital initiatives like 7me and Feliz7Play, which reduce travel costs and use virtual meetings on specific occasions.
In addition, it underscores the strategic role of strengthening the church’s unity in finance, focusing on specific projects in which administrative headquarters, institutions, and members employ resources that impact people with evangelistic campaigns—digital or in person—Bible studies, and service to the community. “Our focus should be on preaching and caring for people,” says Lopes.