Project Documents

Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

James J. North, Jr.

Second Advisor

Bruce L. Bauer

Third Advisor

Norman K. Miles

Abstract

Problem

Although the Seventh-day Adventist church in Kenya has over three hundred thousand believers, the annual statistical reports indicate that its return of tithes and offerings does not correspond with its large membership. This study was undertaken to survey its giving patterns so as to discover possible weaknesses, to find ways of overcoming such weaknesses, and to promote faithful stewardship.

Method

To create a better concept of the stewardship of tithes and offerings an attempt was made to examine how tithes and offerings were practiced during the Old Testament era, intertestamental period, New Testament period, and by Ellen G. White. Also, an attempt was made to investigate the current pattern of giving. Three questionnaires were drafted and sent to Kenya to help determine the factors affecting the unfaithfulness of tithes and offerings. Based on the analysis of these questionnaires, solutions are proposed for possible improvement. These solutions are informed by the current literature on the stewardship of tithes and offerings, the researcher's understanding of the biblical teaching of tithes and offerings, and his personal experience as a minister in the country under study.

Results

The study shows that the Bible does teach about the stewardship of tithes and offerings. God has always called upon His people to render their tithes and offerings so as to provide for His work on earth. Scripture and historical literature witness to the practices of tithing and freewill offerings from the Old Testament period, through the intertestamental and New Testament era. These sources give no information in this area regarding the Babylonian exile. Significantly, Ellen G. White makes it clear that the stewardship of tithes and offerings still applies to the present generation. She called for God's people to continue supporting His work on earth by way of their tithes and offerings. It was her understanding that if all God's children gave their tithes and offerings faithfully, there would be enough funds to provide ministry for God's work on earth. Unfortunately, the SDA Church in Kenya does not have sufficient funds to provide for its ministries due to the unfaithfulness of some members in returning their tithes and offerings. The study reveals that, due to a number of factors, a significant number of church members return no tithes and offerings. A number of the factors have to do with the pastor's lack of skills and tools needed to teach/preach on the subject of tithes and offerings.

Conclusions

The study reveals that several factors must be dealt with to effect the faithful return of tithes and offerings in East African Union. The most immediate way to strengthen the finances of the SDA Church in East African Union might lie in a calculated effort by both the leaders and pastors to instruct their members as to what constitutes tithes and offerings. In addition, an accurate account of how money is spent and a program to visit church members are likely to yield good results. Second, the leaders should pay immediate attention to the factors that affect the pastors' ability to minister effectively. An effort should be made to provide the pastors with the skills and tools needed for their work, such as sufficient traveling allowance, stewardship material, and less churches. Moreover, the pastors' theological training needs immediate attention. Third, all concerned need to work together for the sake of God's work in East African Union.

Subject Area

Christian stewardship; Seventh-day Adventists--Kenya--Finance

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/608

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