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Time is money - you’ve heard the expression - so we believe we are stewards of both our time and our money. Because we are stewards of this beautiful world we’ve been given and since no man knows the day or the hour, we seek to be ready to leave it better than we found it. So we believe strongly in being good stewards. We believe this translates to equality in access to some things we make take for granted. So we are stewards of our time, because we believe strongly that time is our greatest treasure and since we are blessed with each day of life, we seek to give back.
We also believe in being good stewards of our money. We believe the biblical principle of tithing 10% of our increase. Unique to the Adventist faith, we don’t keep our tithe at the local church. We are a part of a community of churches that span the globe. There are systems in place to ensure that tithe from our local church is shared with a church in Africa or Asia who also need a pastor but finances are not as available as they are to us. We believe this follows the biblical principle to do for others what we would want them to do for us. This prevents us from having the pastor drive up in a new Rolls Royce or Gulfstream Jet at the expense of the local members.
This also allows for pastors around each country to be paid a similar wage based on one pay structure. So a pastor with a 1000 member church in Atlanta is paid the same as someone with three 50 member churches in rural Northwest Georgia. It’s true that there are some cost of living adjustments in there but it is built on the same system to keep it fair and prevent competition for higher pay.
We also believe in offering. Over a hundred years ago, an Adventist member coined the phrase “systematic benevolence”. What this means is that we build into our lives the idea of paying tithe and offering. We establish a percentage of offering on top of the ten percent tithe and we budget for this each month regardless of circumstances. One reason we do this is so that it becomes natural and not dependent on emotional appeals. It’s never fun to feel driven by guilt to give, so we believe that as we all plan our lives around giving systematically and consistently that we will not lack when funds are needed.
We use offering for the maintenance of our buildings and outreach programs - so you can see those are pretty important to us and to our community.
We recognize the power of conviction and impression. In light of this, we believe there are times when you may feel impressed to send your offering to a village in India with no running water, or to a school who needs new books, or wherever you are impressed to sacrificially give. We believe this is essential to the building up of the kingdom of heaven. We also believe that tithe is sacred and should be used only for the paying of individuals whose sole occupation is to preach and teach the principles of the kingdom of heaven.