On Tuesday during the 61st General Conference Session, GC CFO/Treasurer Paul Douglas delivered his treasurer’s report, giving an overview of the financial position and performance of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church over the past seven years.

During the period 2015-2019, modest increases were seen across world tithe and mission offerings, although considerably less than compared to the previous five-year period, Douglas said. While $12 billion was returned in tithe from 2015-2019, representing a 6 percent increase compared to 2010-2014, the previous quinquennium’s total world tithe increased by 32 percent.

Church Finances during covid-19

“The effect of the pandemic has not been limited to the threat to human life or economic well-being,” Douglas stated. “COVID-19 has also been a threat to sustaining the fellowship of our Church, in that many buildings remain closed more than two years later,” he added, also acknowledging the many faithful members who “waited until the situation improved to remit their funds.”

However, the overall financial outlook at the end of 2021 is a positive one for the church. Read the full report.

Five challenges for the future

Near the end of his report, Douglas said, “The Church is not immune to the prevailing economic realities and the turbulence these realities create as we engage in the Great Commission.” He then outlined five challenges the Adventist Church will face looking forward:

  1. Balancing growth and stability
  2. Ensuring sufficient working capital and liquidity
  3. Moving towards higher levels of self-support
  4. Dealing with uncertainties due to geopolitical conflict, currency volatility and changes in regulatory environments
  5. Understanding paradigm shifts brought about by crisis events, new technologies, and changes in generational thinking

Background on Paul Douglas

Elected as GC treasurer this week by the delegates, Paul H. Douglas was initially appointed by the GC Executive Committee in 2021 to serve as Chief Financial Officer and treasurer for the Seventh-day Adventist Church World headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. He provides global financial leadership to the Adventist Church and its family of institutions.  

According to gc.adventist.org, Douglas brings to this role more than 30 years of experience in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. As part of providing global financial leadership, Douglas engages with church leaders regarding their organizational stewardship and its impact on the personal stewardship of church members; ensures there is a premium focus placed on managing resources for mission effectively and efficiently; and expects transparency and accountability from everyone involved in the receipt and use of resources placed under their care.

Previously, Douglas served as executive director for General Conference Auditing Service and led a global team of certified professionals attending to a portfolio of assurance engagements for ecclesiastical, educational, healthcare, development, banking, media, manufacturing, retail, insurance and publishing type entities that together report multi-billion-dollar totals for global assets and revenues.

Douglas holds an MBA from California State University – San Bernardino, a certificate from the Leadership and Strategic Management Program at Cornell University, and is completing his dissertation toward a PhD in accounting from the Cass Business School in London. He is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the states of California and Florida, Chartered Accountant in Jamaica, and a Chartered Global Management Accountant.

Bonus Information: How much does a GS Session Cost?

According to session manager George Egwakhe, the GC has budgeted $6 million for this year’s event, which also includes the costs for the 13 divisions. 

During a recent interview on The Pastors’ Round Table, Egwakhe said that 50 percent of the session’s budget goes for two line items: audio/visual transmission and security.