Church Finance: The Intoxication of Sameness

Speaker: Categories: Jan 09, 1993


[1hr, 17min, 28sec / 25min, 2 sec]


What happens when personal expenditures exceed your income? Do (or should) church organizations respond in the same way? And what about old patterns of finance -- do home budgets of the 1950s still work today?

Phil Robertson, our January speaker, notes, "Since 1922, the basic structure of financial operations of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has continued with little change. The world-wide work of the church has benefited greatly from a sharing of funds approach. Yet the North American Division is struggling to maintain this same level of funding support while operating in times of significant local challenge."

He notes further, "The needs are great all around the world and we need to be sensitive to them." But [ed] "we need also to re-focus our vision on the mission of the church in our local community of faith so that effective growth and sufficient resources are the result."

Sound challenging? What might such "refocusing" imply for local congregations, for the Division or the Union, for the General Conference? How did our current financial structure originate? Is it based on a biblical/theological model, or is it an administrative expedient?

And what happens in times of recession when the projected income of the church (Conference) does not keep pace with steady-state or growing demands? Is a cushion available so that Conference payrolls may be met, payments on indebtednesses continued, and financial incentives for outreach and nurture offered?


A graduate of Southern College in 1979, Phil Robertson has enjoyed a variety of positions, including music director of WSMC, academy Bible teacher, treasurer, and vice-principal, and auditor. Since 1986 he has served as treasurer of SECC. He is a member of several professional organizations and his California license as a Certified Public Accountant is pending.

He is married to Kathy Thurber Robertson They have two children: Steve, 15, and Sebrina, 11.

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