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Episode 7: Money Talks

There are two main ways the church is funded - through tithes and offerings. It's pretty easy to see where your local church budget offering goes - every time you turn on the lights, sing praise music through a wireless mic, and give aid to somebody in the church's local neighborhood - that's offering at work.

But what about tithe? If it's not used to keep the local church's lights on, where does it go? And how can we trust that the pastor isn't just pocketing the tithe money for their new Tesla, but that it's being spent in a way that benefits the local church?

Well, we follow the money.

Guests: Bonita Shields, Randy Robinson, Gary Thurber, Michael Campbell, Ken Denslow, Kevin Burton


Dive Deeper

This article and infographic breaks down exactly where $100 of tithe goes - including how much stays in the local conference, unions, North American Division ($9.15 out of every $100) and General Conference.

It further details exactly how the North American Division headquarters allocates the tithe money it receives - administrative costs, departmental budgets, the Guam/Micronesia Mission, publications, and evangelism.

Official Guideline | Use of Tithe -

This official guideline of the Seventh-day Adventist Church details through biblical principles and church policy how tithe money can and should be used.

These guidelines were adopted and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council Session in Washington, D.C., October 14, 1985.

Article | The Twin Principles of Systematic Benevolence by Kevin Burton - Adventist World

As detailed in this episode, Adventism's first financial system was called Systematic Benevolence, nicknamed "Sister Betsy."

It had two components - supporting the ministry of the church and providing for the needs of the local community.

Sister Betsy's leadership included many pioneering Adventist women. Read this article to find out more about "Sister Betsy" at The Good Samaritan, the Adventist publication used to promote "Sister Betsy" and a socially-focused mission.

Some of the questions and controversies about the tithe system we hear today are nothing new.

This article, published in Ministry Magazine in 1994, details several questions about Ellen White's approach to tithe in special circumstances including supporting minister's wives who devoted their time to ministry but did not receive a salary, and supporting Black ministers working in the south without financial support from the larger organization.


Financial Reports

It's not always easy to find clear financial breakdowns and reports about what's happening in the church. So we compiled a list of places you can find these reports:

General Conference and World Church Reports

Executive Committee Financial Reports -

Financial reports for the World Church and General Conferences headquarters are given twice a year - at Spring Meetings in March, and Annual Council in October.

To view these reports:

  1. Click the above link

  2. Click on the year you'd like to view.

  3. Then search for “Treasurer’s Report”


You can also access the General Conference Auditing Services report from here -

Division Reports

NAD Stewardship World Budget Offering breakdown -

Union and Local Conference Reports

Financial reports for your local Union or Conference are available by contacting their Treasurer's office.


Get in touch.

Instagram: @howthechurchworks

Twitter: @htcwpodcast

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