Depending on the Lord’s blessings

Depending on the Lord’s blessings

Norbert Zens, EUD CFO

The Report of the EUD Treasurer to the Year-end Meeting 2019

November 26, 2019

Bern, Switzerland. [CD-EUDNews. C.Cozzi]. The report by the treasurer of the Inter-European Region (EUD) of Seventh-day Adventists opened with a reflection on the benefits of divine blessing: “Through blessing others, we will be blessed,” Zens began. “This is the principle that God gave to Israel, and that He wants [us to] live as well. In our Division, we have always given generously for the mission and I believe that this is one of the sources of our blessings,” he continued. “We cannot mathematically prove that, but it is the experience and I believe that we are depending on the Lord’s blessings. The moment we follow the Lord’s way on that, I’m sure that He is going to bless us.”

The tithe and offering trend in the world and in the EUD
An important point shared with the EUD Executive, which met in Lyon for the usual Year-end Meeting, from October 30 to November 4, is the trend of the tithes.
"This year, too, the loyalty of church members has been put to the test," Zens explained. "Our members are called upon to face the challenges posed by society and the fluctuating cost of living that produces uncertainty and, in some cases, discouragement.”
But despite this problematic situation, tithes continue to be an important scale needle, and church members have once again demonstrated the value of fidelity to God by returning 10% of their income and managing the remaining 90% at their best.

This is a principle of Stewardship, which sees the believer responsible for managing a patrimony that remains in any case of God, to whom we return that 10%, which is already His.

Zens presented the fact that in 2018 and part of 2019 the tithes has grown in most countries across the world. An increase of around 5% to a total of $2,530 million. All countries in the world are contributors, the largest being the three Americas with a total contribution of 75%, determined mainly by the number of members, followed in fourth place by the EUD with 5%.

As for the offerings, which are extremely small—amounting to about 88.34 million USD—there has been the same increase as last year, equal to about 5%.

The three Americas contribute 75% of the missionary offerings, followed by the EUD with 8%.

While tithes determine the fidelity of church members, offerings determine their generosity, without which we could not carry a worldwide mission.

Coming to the EUD, Zens presented the trend of tithes in the last 10 years. The graph to the side (see the picture) shows a positive trend, thanks to the fidelity of church members. However, this trend has received a setback for 2019.

The same can be said for the offerings, which suffered a setback in 2017, and the recovery in 2018 is lower than the upward trend of previous years.
In this regard, Zens shared a quote from Ellen White, writer and pioneer of the Adventist movement, who has always called for generosity in supporting the mission of the Church said: “… the prosperity of the home work depends largely, under God, upon the reflex influence of the evangelical work in countries afar off”. (Testimony to the Church, vol 6, pag. 27).

With regard to the tithes and offerings of the EUD countries, Zens presented a clear report that shows a general tendency towards stability, although for some countries it is falling for this year.

In terms of figures, the value of the tithes’ revenue is around 118 million Euros.  
As far as offerings are concerned, the trend is similar to that of tithes.

Use of tithe
The Adventist Church adopted the principle of tithing back in 1859 and consolidated in 1861, with the aim of using it as a support for the Church's work in evangelization and church administration.

“It is important that we share with our members on how we use tithe,” Zens explained, citing the principle of transparency.

Total of tithes in EUD for the year 2018 is 118 million.
45% used for pastors’ salary, evangelists and frontline workers; 15% for headquarters operations; 6% for education; 4% for direct evangelism; 3% for media; 9% retirement funds; 1% for literature evangelism.

“One data that surprises me”, said Zens, “is the percentage of tithe for headquarter operation. We are a Division, that counts 11 Unions and 21 Conferences with about 180,000 members, with the lowest percentage of tithe employed in headquarters operations.”
The aim is to give more support to the missionary functions of the various local camps.

Besides the normal appropriation for local evangelism, in 2018 our spending for mission projects was: 1.2 million Euros as additional evangelism appropriation to the Unions; 210,000 Euros for Global Mission projects (specially long term projects); 169,000 Euros for His Hands (local projects to support volunteer missionaries); and 40,000 Euros for Center of influence, (local centres where are offered social, cultural, evangelical activities).  

Never left alone

Before his conclusion, Zens presented the 2020 budget that, in spite of a slight negative trend of income in this last year, remains more or less stable compared to the previous budget, reducing the internal expenses of the administration but continuing to support the general field programmes. 

In his conclusion, Zens quoted Ellen White, highlighting that “if in our ignorance we make missteps, Christ will not leave us” (Christ Object Lessons, p. 173). “We can make missteps, some are conscious, some no, but we have to be happy that somebody is aware of our missteps because we want to serve the Lord the best way we can,” Zens said, concluding, “I know that our Lord is with us, He will encourage us and will not leave us, this is an encouragement for us as we work for the Lord together.”

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