Looking Upward in a Down World
Most well-managed families meet from time to time to discuss family finances. It is time for the church family in Pacific Union to do the same.
The past five years have brought some serious financial challenges to most of the church and school entities within Pacific Union. The most notable challenge has been the collapse of the financial markets, which has resulted in the loss of investment income. Many areas within the Pacific Union territory have been affected by job losses, resulting in lower family income on which to pay tithe.
Lower income to the church has required more careful planning and a re-examination of financial priorities. Downsizing of employees has resulted. Modern technology is being used to substitute for support personnel.
Yet even with these financial challenges, this report will show that God is still in the business of opening the windows of heaven and pouring out abundant blessings on His family.
Membership and Tithe Comparison
Pacific Union is made up of four primary ethnic groups. Chart A illustrates the size and financial strength of each group. The total membership of Pacific Union as of December 31, 2010, was 222,708.
Total tithe during this five year period was $834.5 million, which is $84.8 million greater than the previous five-year period. This translates to an 11.31 percent increase during the last five years. Despite the economy, we praise God for continued blessings.
World Mission Giving
God’s family is scattered throughout the entire world. A portion of the tithe, along with basic mission offerings, provide support for world wide mission work. The offerings include: Sabbath School, Thirteenth Sabbath, Investment, Miscellaneous, and Birthday and Thank offerings.
Giving to these mission offerings was almost the same as the previous quinquennium with a slight increase of 1.14 percent during this quinquennium. During the past five years, many thousands of dollars have gone directly to specific mission projects from local churches, schools and conferences. The amount that passed through the Pacific Union for designated missions was $22.3 million.
The Pacific Union received a total income of $160.1 million during the 2006 to 2010 period. Restricted income amounted to 51.2 percent and was passed on or used as the donor specified. Tithe provided by the conferences made up 41.8 percent while an additional 7 percent came from investments and miscellaneous income.
The primary focus of the Pacific Union is to assist the conferences. The operating expenses consist of two main categories designated as Program Services and Support Functions. Program Services are those expenses directed toward the accomplishment of mission, while Support Functions consist of administrative expenses and other operating costs. During the period from 2006 to 2010, 90.2 cents of every dollar spent was used to accomplish mission. The 90.2 percent ($147.1 million) spent for Program Services was apportioned to the conferences and institutions of higher education as follows:
- K-12 Education — $22.8 million
- Higher Education — $38.4 million (This includes appropriations to La Sierra University, Oakwood University and Pacific Union College.)
- Conference Appropriations — $32.9 million
- Evangelism — $16.9 million
- Departments — $12.9 million
- Retirement — $10.1 million
- Conference Capital Projects — $4.6 million
- Local Missions — $4.6 million
- Recorder — $3.9 million
Conference appropriations include $3.8 million from year-end gains realized by the Pacific Union during the past 5 years, which were returned as unrestricted funds.
Pacific Union Missions
Holbrook Adventist Indian School, Monument Valley Mission School, and Calexico Mission School are missions within the Pacific Union boundaries. Together with the conferences, the Pacific Union assists with the support of these mission outreaches.
One function entrusted to the Pacific Union is to provide financial equalization among ethnic groups so that growth opportunities are enhanced. A portion of the tithe reaching the Union from the African-American, Asian and Hispanic churches is returned to the conferences to provide scholarship and capital project assistance for these groups. The North American Division also returns a portion of their funds to assist these groups.
Other Managed Funds
The Evangelism Endowment Fund provides on-going funds for innovative outreach by churches and individuals within the union. This past five years, $1,316,390 has been provided for churches to try new methods of outreach and evangelism.
The Education Endowment has provided funds during the past five years that have assisted 3,046 students in the amount of $1,668,929.
The Church and School Loan Fund provides low cost loans to our churches, schools and conferences with the Pacific Union. The interest earnings are distributed to the Evangelism Endowment Fund and the Educational Endowment to help with the mission of the union. As of Dec. 31, 2010, the net assets of the fund were $39.9 million of which $23.1 million were loans to churches, schools and conferences within the union.
The Income Fund is unique in that its primary objective is to provide a pooled investment vehicle for churches, schools and conferences within the Pacific Union. Secondarily, it is a financing option for capital projects for those same denominational organizations. As of Dec. 31, 2010, the net assets of the fund were $77 million, of which $40.5 million were loans to churches, schools and conferences within the union.
We Look Forward to the Future
Because of God’s abundant blessings and the faithfulness of the members in giving to His cause, we can state that the Pacific Union Conference is in a sound financial position at this time. It is through God’s wisdom and power that His church thrives. Pray that He will continue to bless and guide us as we manage the finances of Pacific Union for the finishing of God’s work.