Every pastor and conference leader has a vision more grand than just keeping the lights on and paying the bills. They want to see the Gospel proclaimed through successful evangelistic efforts, a robust educational system, and a strong youth and young adult program. Accomplishing this vision, however, takes money. Tithe, of course, covers some, but did King David expect the tithe to cover the costs of building the temple? (1Ch: 29:5) No! He cast his vision among the people and appealed to them to join in. So, if appealing to the people, (fundraising) is biblical, why do we not see more Conferences doing it?
I often hear: “We just don’t do it that way.” or “Doesn’t tithe cover all the conference’s expenses?” or “I really don’t know what the conference actually does.” These responses must be addressed and refuted if the Seventh-day Adventist Church is going to remain a viable platform from which we may proclaim that salvation is available to all and that the Lord is coming back soon. Let’s drill down on each of these.
We just don’t do it that way.
Well, why not? As mentioned above King David had no problem appealing to the people. Nor did Moses when he needed items for the wilderness temple. (Exodus 25: 1-7) But, these are capital campaigns, how about other types of appeals. Check out 1 Corinthians 9:1-18 where Paul makes an appeal for his ministry.
Doesn’t tithe cover the conference’s expenses?
There is a set policy on how much of the tithe dollar may be used for specific expenses. In Florida, 34.7% is allocated to pastor/ministerial expenses, 24.2% goes to education, 4.1% goes to youth/children’s ministries, etc. What if the vision (or need) is greater than what these percentages afford? Nowhere to go unless we do a little fundraising!
I really don’t know what the local church or conference does.
Well, all I can say to this is, “Shame on us for not communicating better.” This is a challenge, though. Not everyone reads the church newsletter of conference magazine. Not everyone attends camp meeting. Every church and conference should have a public relations person whose sole job is to communicate the vision and milestones reached by the church or conference.
Successful ministries, both Adventist and not, are reaching our members with dynamic fundraising strategies that communicate their vision and their successes. Our local churches and conferences had better learn from them or we, too, will go the way of the buggy whip - Sayonara!
Philip Bond is the Development and Planned Giving Director for the Florida Conference