While building the 2017 Budget for the Minnesota Conference, several expenses were challenging the creation of a balanced budget. The day before presenting to the Conference Board of Trustees, the first draft of the budget was stressful for the Treasury team because it is generally not a great idea to walk into a board meeting with an unbalanced budget.
Reading our devotional book the morning prior to the board meeting, my wife and I read the following: “Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish and a plain path before their feet.” Ministry of Healing, pg 481.
As the Treasury team projected the 2016 tithe based on prior years, we conservatively estimated that if all churches turned in all the reports, we might make $1.1 million for December tithe. Then, as we entered remittance data on January 19, the numbers didn’t seem to be adding up correctly. We decided to wait to close the 2016 remittances until the following Monday, January 23. After a few more reports came in, and we closed the month, we were stunned by what God had just done for Minnesota.
The highest recorded December tithe in Minnesota was received in 2012, and totaled $1,232,452. The highest recorded year-total tithe came in 2015, with a total tithe of $7,708,287. Most of the churches turned in their remittances through November, meaning the usual practice of estimating December tithe as a “double” month was looking rather grim. In addition, in the metro area, one Sabbath in December we expected a reduction in tithe because so many churches closed due to weather.
When the remittances were done, and booked, we could only say that God had provided an incredible miracle. December’s tithe alone was $1,399,270, and the total tithe for 2016 overall reached an all-time high of $8,352,557. This calculated a year-to-date increase of 8.36% tithe gain, or $644,270 more than the previous year. Taking into consideration that 2016 had 53 Sabbaths, compared to a regular 52 Sabbath year, the week adjustment still left us with a 6.31% tithe gain or $486,675.
While it does take a partnership of Divine and human working together, and while recognizing that the continual promoting of Stewardship, as well as our members challenging God by being faithful in tithes and offerings, we can only say “Praise God” for His outpouring of blessings to His people. The work isn’t done, the call for more workers is overwhelming, and God’s return is almost here. Won’t you join us as we praise God for the outpouring of His blessings in 2016, and challenge Him in 2017, as He said to do in Malachi 3:10.
Dwayne Mauk, Vice President for Finance
e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
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