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2014 Adventist world budget: mission, administrative support, expanded auditing

Highlights of headquarters budget of $180 million; full budget upon request

2014 Adventist world budget: mission, administrative support, expanded auditing

In an interview, Adventist Church Undertreasurer Juan R. Prestol gave an overview of the 2014 General Conference World Budget. Above, he addresses the denomination’s Executive Committee in October. This is the fifth consecutive year ANN has made available the full budget for readers to review. [ANN file photo by Brandan Roberts]

The 2014 budget of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world headquarters funds mission work and administrative support outside of North America, as well as the operation of the headquarters building.

The Adventist Church’s world budget this year of nearly $180 million allocates:

  • $46.2 million for operating costs, salaries and programs of the world headquarters building
  • $44 million in appropriations to the fields outside of North America.
  • $33 million in subsidies to institutions.
  • $29.3 million for missionaries and employees serving in other divisions.
  • $14.6 million in headquarters administered funds.
  • $12 million for the General Conference Auditing Service.

An Adventist Church finance officer underscored that the world budget of $180 million only includes items relating to the denomination’s world headquarters and appropriations to world fields. The world budget does not include the reported incomes or budgets for its 13 divisions or respective local administrative units and congregations (The Adventist world church receives more than $2 billion in tithe annually). Many local administrative units may choose to report their own budget in a similar way.

Operating costs for the denomination’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, is limited to 2 percent of world tithe, and it is again expected to operate significantly under that cap.

“We have been running under that cap for decades, making more resources available for world fields,” said Juan R. Prestol, undertreasurer for the Adventist world church.

Prestol said the 2014 budget represents a “holding pattern” due to the adjustment in tithe percentages from North America, a decision that was approved by the denomination’s Executive Committee in 2012.

Until 2012, the North American Division contributed 8 percent of its tithe to the GC World Budget, while the other 12 divisions each contributed 2 percent. The 2012 vote reduced North America’s tithe percentage contribution down to 6 percent, which would be implemented over several years. North America’s tithe is nearly $1 billion, and the 2014 continuing adjustment means an approximately $10 million reduction, Prestol said.

Recipient divisions other than North America are allocated appropriations between $1.3 million and $4.9 million. The 2014 world budget also includes a 2 percent increase over 2013 appropriations levels.

“Every year we have never ceased to give modest increases in appropriations to the divisions and institutions,” Prestol said. “Even in 2008 when we faced the world recession, which we are altogether not out of, the budget of the General Conference represents a modest increase and measured approach to continue with the programs.”

In 2008, the Executive Committee voted that the Inter-American Division, South American Division and Loma Linda University would receive decreasing appropriations from 2010 to 2014, with the remaining amounts going to other regions and institutions.

The $12 million allocated to the General Conference Auditing Service represents an expanded service to cover audits not previously conducted in certain regions, said GCAS Director Paul Douglas. Subsides will be provided at a rate of 80 percent for the audit cost of a tithe-based type entity and 20 percent for the audit cost of a non-tithe based type entity. The portions not covered by subsidies from the General Conference will be passed on to the respective divisions, which for the first time will share in the costs of audits being performed in their territory.  

For the first time, the North American Division in 2014 will receive an appropriation—$279,000 to help administrate the Guam-Micronesia Mission, which until two years ago was part of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division.

Other major appropriations identified within the 2014 General Conference world budget include:

    $7.6 million for Loma Linda University
    $5.5 million for Adventist World magazine
    $5.3 million for Andrews University
    $4.9 million for Hope Channel
    $2.5 million for the Ellen G. White Estate
    $2.4 million for Adventist World Radio
    $1.5 million for subsidies to publications
    $1.4 million for the 2015 General Conference Session
    $1.3 million for Oakwood University
    $1.2 million for the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies
    $1.2 million for the Geoscience Research Institute
    $1.1 million for the Adventist University of Africa

To see a complete copy of the 2014 General Conference world budget as an Excel spreadsheet, please send a request to the ANN editor at [email protected].