The Seventh-day Adventist Church is unlike any other church in the world. Because of our unique calling from God to preach the Gospel to the world and proclaim the second coming of Jesus our church has taken great care to organize itself in a way that empowers that mission to move forward around the world. Unlike many other churches the tithes and offerings that faithful members place in the offering plate each week do all remain in the local church. They move through the organization to every part of the globe. This is an important part of how God has led our church to organize for mission.
In an effort of promote confidence and transparency between the members of the Oklahoma conference and the Conference office the Stewardship department has produced this infographic poster to disclose how tithes and Oklahoma 2% offerings are utilized. You may recognize this poster as they were posted in every church across the conference last year. Your church will be receiving this updated version for the current year soon.
When you give your tithe each week that donation is distributed on percentage basis as you can see in the graph. For every dollar we receive in tithe, .653 cents remain here in Oklahoma. Tithe is limited in its uses by church policy to ensure that tithe goes directly to support the Gospel ministry. The other .447 cents is remitted to the upper levels of our organization. The General Conference, North American Division and Southwestern Union receive a combined .23 cents. The Retirement fund and the health care fund receive .114 cents. Then finally a third of a penny goes to the special assistance fund which is a fund that supports small conferences in times of need.
As you can see for the past 3 years Oklahoma members have been faithfully returning their tithe, each year we have seen an increase in tithe. This has made it possible for our conference to keep all pastoral positions filled and empower ministry across our territory.
As mentioned earlier the use of tithe is strictly protected by church policy, below you can see by percentage exactly how tithe dollars are budgeted. There are also a number of financial needs that cannot be funded by tithe as you can see as well. That is where the Oklahoma 2% offering collected each month comes in. These funds are allocated to cover maintenance costs at Wewoka Woods provides additional funding for teachers in our schools and covers personnel costs for non-ministry staff in the office like the treasury department and summer camp staff.
For the current year the Oklahoma Conference Executive Committee approved a budget that will require a grand total of $8,978,292.44 to support the continued ministry of our 88 churches, 8 Schools, as well as Wewoka Woods Adventist Center and Summer Camp. Thank you for your continued prayers and faithful giving. It is incredible to see all the Lord is doing here in Oklahoma through our work together.