Synergy is the harmonious working together of two or more people or groups that yields a result greater than the sum of their individual efforts. This concept of synergy was at work on the day of Pentecost when a small band of unlearned common workers united together in one accord and began to spread the gospel with such forcefulness that people said they had “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Coming together in one accord allowed them to be filled with the Holy Spirit—the power source behind synergy.
How does this concept of synergy relate to the principle of tithing? First, we must remember that tithing was chosen by God as His instrument for sustaining those who preach the gospel. The storehouse is merely the establishment where the tithe is both collected and distributed. Could this be the local church? Absolutely yes; however, not with the same effectiveness as in a system where many churches band together, allowing for the operation of synergy. Simply stated, in view of our global mission, no one local church is capable of taking on this mission with efficiency.
Now let’s take a look at our structure within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. All the churches within a given locale join together into a combined unit to accomplish two basic functions: provide equitably for those carrying the gospel within its territory, and provide substantial assistance for those in other parts of the world where the need for tithe resources is considerably greater. When these several churches come together, under the influence of the Holy Spirit as on the day of Pentecost, we have synergy at work within our tithing system so that the gospel can go to the world both with equity and efficiency.
Does God need our money? Absolutely not! Nevertheless, He has devised a plan that requires us to all pull together in the same direction. While God does not need our resources, we need the opportunity His system affords for coming together in one accord. No wonder Scripture declares, “Great is the mystery of godliness!”
Pastor George Bryant is stewardship director for the Central States Conference. This article is an excerpt from his latest Stewardship Seminar.