The Use of the Tithe

The tithe is the main source of funding for the total proclamation of the gospel to all the world by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This includes evangelistic outreach to the public and the spiritual nurturing of church members. Because tithe is reserved for a special purpose, freewill offerings must provide the funding for many functions of the gospel work.

1. The support of evangelists, pastors and Bible instructors.

2. The support of personnel who provide administrative leadership and services for evangelistic outreach and nurturing ministries, including conference officers, departmental directors, accountants, clerks and office administrative assistants.

3. The expenses necessary to support the total evangelistic outreach and nurturing ministries of the church, such as conference office operations, conference office and evangelistic equipment, and campground and campmeeting operations.*

4. The support of functions which are considered essential to the evangelistic outreach and nurturing ministries of the church.

a. Educational workers—Up to 30 percent of the cost for elementary principals and teachers, the equivalent of the total support of academy Bible teachers, residence hall deans and principals, and an amount equal to the total cost of college and university Bible departments, residence hall deans, presidents and deans of students.

b. Literature evangelists’ benefits.

c. Conference centers or camps operating expense.

d. Media programs—The production of evangelistic media programs and material.

e. Retirees—The retirement benefits of denominational employees not otherwise provided for.

1. Local church maintenance and other operating expenses. These should be funded by offerings from members.

2. Elementary school maintenance and other operating expenses. These should be funded from tuition and/or church subsidies.

3. Secondary and higher education maintenance and operating expenses. These should be funded from tuition and other institutional income.

4. Church, conference or institutional building projects. These should be funded from members or other nontithe sources.

*Some have asked why tithe can be used for the operating expenses of conferences, but not for the local church. The quick answer is that local church members have a greater opportunity to understand the weekly/monthly needs of their local church outreach and respond with freewill offerings directly for those needs. Conferences do not have a weekly or even monthly “membership meeting.” So the world church has determined that a portion of tithe will be allocated to help pay for the services that conferences, as support networks, provide for each local church.

For the full statement on the use of the tithe, go to: www.adventist.org/beliefs/guidelines/main_guide4.html.

June 01, 2006 / Feature