Achieving parity in tithe contributed by world church divisions to the Adventist Church’s world headquarters dominated the Monday afternoon discussion of the delegates to the Fall 2019 General Conference Executive Committee meeting, called the Annual Council.
The term “parity in financial matters” describes a future scenario in which all thirteen Seventh-day Adventist world territories (called divisions) contribute the same base percentage of their tithe to the denomination’s global headquarters—the General Conference (GC). The GC uses its allocated portion of tithe to fund headquarters operations as well as appropriations, which are funds distributed back to world divisions by the GC.
How It Works
The financial structure of the Adventist Church involves tithe (10 percent of a member’s income) contributed at the local church. The local church sends the tithe to the local conference, an administrative unit which oversees a defined geographic area. While most tithe funds remain in the conference to pay for operations, pastoral salaries, and other mission projects, a portion is sent on to other administrative units, including the GC and its divisions.
Historically, the North American Division (NAD)—the birthplace of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—has contributed a greater percentage of its tithe to the GC. As recently as 2012, the NAD was contributing 8 percent of its tithe allocation to the GC, while the rest of the divisions were contributing 2 percent.
An official change in General Conference Working Policy, voted by the GC Executive Committee in 2011, lowered NAD’s contribution from 8 percent to 5.85 percent. The plan was incrementally phased-in over an eight-year span and reflected a growing need in North America to fund mission-focused activities.
In 2018, the NAD Executive Committee requested, through an official vote, a continued conversation with the GC to pursue a further lowering of the division’s tithe remittance to the GC with the goal of reaching tithe parity (equality) among all its divisions.