Top Adventist statistician links mission offerings to prosperity at home

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Ellen White’s convictions about mission giving examined by the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research.

October 11, 2019
/ Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
/ Andrew McChesney


Top Adventist statistician links mission offerings to prosperity at home[Photo courtesy of Adventist Mission]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s top statistician has examined and statistically verified a conviction by church co-founder Ellen G. White that prosperity in the home work depends on generosity in giving mission offerings to foreign fields.

David Trim, director of the church’s Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, said months of research by his team, together with support from statisticians at Berrien Springs, Michigan-based Andrews University, has yielded data that supports a connection between liberality in foreign mission offerings and the prosperity of outreach work at home.

“By giving, you will not be taking away from your local context,” Trim told the annual Mission Board meeting of senior church leaders at the world church’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Opening a data-packed presentation, he read a 1900 statement from Ellen White that helped prompt his research.

“The prosperity of the home work depends largely … upon the reflex influence of the … work done in countries afar off,” he said, reading from Testimonies to the Church, vol. 6, page 27.

Ellen White made the statement at a time when some church leaders were questioning the wisdom of sending funds to other countries rather than concentrating resources at home. In one instance, leaders worried that any plan to open church schools across the United States would result in a significant drop in mission offerings, Trim said. In another case, William A. Spicer, who later became world church president, reported the views of U.S. leaders apprehensive about diverting money to new mission fields in Asia. “We could not provide money for our workers in Asia when we needed so much in our home field,” Spicer said, according to Trim.

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