I faithfully give an offering, but where does the money go?
In the North American Division, you may choose to direct your offering into 5 key areas: tithe, local church budget, conference advance, world budget and special projects.
What is Tithe and how is the money used?
Tithe is the Biblical directive for us to return 10% of our earnings to the Lord, to be used by His Church. Your tithe is returned to the conference to pay the wages of conference employed pastors, evangelists, Bible teachers, and administrators. LLFC may not use the tithe received from its members, all tithe monies are returned to the conference.
What is the Local Church Budget and how is the money used?
Financial support of LLFC’s local church budget is allocated into three areas. The first area is our Operating budget which is used to pay our monthly bills - electricity, gas, water, waste management, property insurance, phone and internet services, staff salaries, cleaning services, potluck supplies, church bulletins, plus much more. Loma Linda Academy constituency fees are the largest portion of LLFC’s church budget which is approximately 10% of our tithe received. The second area is Church Ministry which is used to fund the programs of the church for children, youth, adult, sabbath school, seniors, community, and evangelism. The third area is to fund the upkeep and improvement of our church facility.
What is Conference Advance, World Budget and Special Projects and how is the money used?
The Conference Advance funds specific needs in the overall conference such as local evangelism, child and youth evangelism, academy operation, and summer camps. The World Budget is our contribution to the global mission of the SDA worldwide church. Offerings for Special Projects goes to support denominational entities such as It is Written, ADRA and The Voice of Prophecy.
How does LLFC use the money received each week?
Tithe is remitted to the conference. Offerings designated for conference use are returned to the conference. All unrestricted offerings are used to support our local church budget first to sustain LLFC. While we do not have a surplus in the church budget currently, it is our plan that when LLFC receives the blessing of a surplus, it will be allocated 50/50. Fifty percent to financially support mission focused ministries with seed money and fifty percent to pay for capital improvement projects required for campus maintenance. Offerings with restricted use are set aside to financially support whichever LLFC ministry or project the donor designates.
Are LLFC church ministries, church special events, clubs/groups or church capital improvement projects funded by the local church budget?
No. Funds for LLFC special events (i.e. socials, anniversary programs), mission focused ministries (i.e. Health and Temperance, VBS, Basketball), clubs/service groups (i.e. Pathfinders, Choirs, media) and projects (i.e. LED lights, solar, A/C units) are not included in the local church budget.
But I indicate on the offering envelope that some of the money I am giving is to support a specific LLFC ministry or special project, why is it not included in the church budget?
The church budget pays for items that are critical or essential for LLFC to remain open and in operation, such as utilities, insurance and staff salaries. While mission-focused ministries, clubs and capital improvement projects are important, our church priority is to pay our monthly debt first. We must sustain LLFC before we can invest monies to support or grow our ministries and build our facility through capital improvement projects.
What happens to the money that I give to financially support a specific LLFC ministry or project (i.e. Youth, Children’s, Solar, A/V, piano)?
Monies that are designated for a specific ministry or project, are allocated to a restricted fund specifically for that ministry, club, service group or capital project. Only the designated ministry, club, service group or capital project may use the money in its restricted fund. This is how many of our ministries, programs and projects are funded. Generous donors allocate a set amount to a specific LLFC ministry or project.
If LLFC is short in the church budget, why not use the ministry or project money to pay our bills?
Ethically and legally LLFC may not use money in a restricted fund to financially support our church budget or operating costs. We may not use restricted funds to pay our monthly bills and sustain our church.
What is a restricted fund?
A restricted fund is money that is set aside for a particular purpose, which is determined by the donor. Sometimes it’s temporarily restricted, meaning that the restriction could end due to a specified time limit, or more likely, by the completion of a project, such as the construction of our gym. Funds that are permanently restricted are usually meant for projects or activities that are ongoing and have no time limit (i.e. LLA constituency fee). Donors have specifically given money to LLFC ministries to support the ministries’ mission-focused work, thus the use of the money is restricted for those purposes.
What is an unrestricted fund?
An unrestricted fund has no restrictions in how the money is used by our church; there are no strings attached. The monies in an unrestricted fund may be used for whatever purpose is deemed necessary. Typically, this money goes toward normal operating costs or our church budget to sustain LLFC by paying our monthly debt.
Currently, I give back 10% as tithe. How much offering should I give?
LLFC asks that families/members, after prayerful consideration, support our local church budget by including an offering of 4% of our earnings. This is in addition to our tithe of 10%. Giving an offering of 4% of earnings will go a long way in supporting LLFC’s ability to sustain our church.
Do I have to give 14% (10% tithe plus 4% offering)?
Total personal giving of 14% (10% tithe plus 4% offering) is our goal for every church family/member. However, LLFC knows that everyone’s circumstances are different. We ask that each family/member carefully consider what you can give. Prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to direct your giving and give as you are moved by the Spirit to give. For some of us, this will be 4%. For others, it will be more. For still others, it will be less. We trust that our Lord will bless all who willingly give, or sacrifice, with a cheerful heart. It is our prayer that over time, the members of LLFC will give faithfully to our church budget so that we may sustain our church, without having to rely on unexpected blessings from one or two major donors.
Does LLFC have any savings? What happens if LLFC is in dire need of money?
LLFC has been blessed by the service of our Treasurer, Brother Dave Patrona, who is gifted with financial acumen and stewardship. Over the 30+ years that he has acted as LLFC Treasurer, Brother Dave, together with the guidance of the SECC auditors, has enabled our church to build up an emergency savings fund. As with our personal household finances, LLFC’s emergency savings is for true church emergencies and should not be used for LLFC’s daily budget or for ministry support. We praise God that LLFC has not been required to use our emergency savings because you, our members, are faithfully giving financial support to LLFC.
What are the key points that as a member of LLFC I should be aware of as I plan out my financial support of LLFC in the coming year and beyond?
Our campaign involves 3 verbs: Sustain, Grow and Build. Your offering will Sustain LLFC by giving the financial means to pay our daily expenses and regular bills. Your offering will Grow LLFC by financially supporting our mission-focused ministries in service of our members and community. Your offering will Build LLFC by giving us the funds necessary to keep our facilities safe and well maintained through capital improvement projects so that we may host members and our community on our campus. Please be prayerful about your financial support of our church. Ask God to direct your decisions and determine what it is that you are willing to sacrifice to help LLFC meet our mission to Love God, Love Others and Make Disciples.