The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Adventists receive $1.3 Billion in 2004; Converts nearly 1 million Hindus till date

Excerpt from the Adventist Review Website

"Global Mission"

Following the morning's devotional message, Mark Finley, director of global evangelism, reported to the General Conference Executive Committee members attending the April 13 and 14 meetings at the Adventist Church's world headquarters that 1,071,135 people were baptized in 2004, the highest total in 15 years. More than 30,000 pastors worldwide conducted some form of evangelistic outreach last year, and almost 4 million laypeople participated in evangelistic meetings.

Nearly 600,000 youth between the ages of 15-30 were also actively involved in evangelism through the Elijah Project, a program under the leadership of the world church's youth director, Baraka Muganda, said Finley.

One notable example of church growth was reported (in writing) by Southern Asia Division president Ron Watts. According to Watts, as of December 31, 2004, the church in India had grown to 919,782 members, an increase of 162 percent-550,000 baptized-since the same time in 1999. This contrasted with the seven years it took early pioneers in that region to win one convert.

Financial Report

World church treasurer Robert Lemon and undertreasurer Steve Rose presented a detailed financial picture to the delegates. Lemon said that growth in 2004 "exceeded our projections because of better-than-expected tithe increases, the release of some blocked currencies, and improvements in the stock market."

According to Rose's report, the total tithe received in the world field was US$1.317 billion, up 9.4 percent over 2003. Total 2004 tithe income to the General Conference from the world church was US$105 million (including US$28.8 million that goes to tithe exchange), an increase of 5.6 percent over 2003, with the NAD portion being US$93.6 million. Mission offerings are also up 15.2 percent over last year.

"When we began 2004, we were very cautious in our expectations for the year-end results, because of the tithe-sharing transition arrangement in place," Rose told the Adventist Review. "But it ended up with a $9.8 million increase. The Lord really blessed."

According to Lemon, the greatest challenge in the next quinquennium is how the church addresses appropriations. "We have become more acutely aware of people in unreached areas of the world, in particular those who live in the 10/40 window," he said, referring to an area that extends between 10 degrees and 40 degrees north of the equator, stretching from west Africa to east Asia. "We can't just finish the work in one area; we have to finish it everywhere.""

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