Date of Award

2009

Embargo Period

11-22-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Leadership and Management (Honours) MLM (Hons)

Faculty

Faculty of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Morey

Abstract

Resourcing for effective mission and ministry in local Seventh-day Adventist Churches: A call for the global church to think and act locally, studies the resources that are generated by, yet then taken away from, local Seventh-day Adventist Churches. While the Adventist church is a global movement, this study has limited itself predominantly to the structural issues affecting the local church in Adventism within the Western or developed world. It was found that 100% of the tithe that is given by a local congregation is remitted to higher administrative bodies of which as little as 40%, or less in the case of larger congregations, returns directly to the local church in the form of pastoral staffing. On top of giving tithes, Adventists give offerings of which only 38%, or 20 offerings per year collected during the main service remains in that local church. The local church retains nothing that is contributed for the main Sabbath school offering. Much of the extra money collected goes either to missions or to support the well resourced administrative structures above the local church.

This paper shows that the amount taken from the local church is excessive and detrimental to the local congregation’s health and vitality and negatively affects the local church’s ability to fulfil the great commission in its own neighbourhood. It argues for a balanced approach and looks to find the middle ground which avoids both the extremes of congregationalism and the present over-centralised system. This paper identifies encouraging steps that are being taken in this direction in the area of church buildings, staffing-for-growth at the local church level and the introduction of flexible structures. It recommends the retention of a greater portion of offerings in the local church and that a portion of tithe be available for the running of local missional events. Further recommendations are that 60% of tithe given by the local church be “locked-in” to that same church for the use of staffing, that a process of de-departmentalisation be undertaken to reduce the number of administrative departments and make them more effective and, finally, a simplification of the administrative system where the administration of the church can concentrate more intentionally on enhancing it’s primary unit of mission – the local congregation. This paper reminds readers that the local church is the church and it suggests it is axiomatic that the stronger the local church becomes, the stronger the entire body will be.

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