10 November 2021 |
The Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (IAD) recently had its 2021 Year-End business meetings, Oct. 31, 2021 – Nov. 4, 2021, but it started them with a party: the church in Inter-America was established officially in 1922 and is celebrating 100 years of existence.
From nearly 8,000 church members in 1922, the church in Inter-America has grown to more than 3 million members today. Its territory covers Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, French Antilles, Venezuela, and Colombia; geographically, it is the North America Division’s (NAD) next-door neighbor.
The IAD operates hundreds of schools and universities, hospitals and clinics, ADRA offices and more.
- The membership of the IAD, as of the second quarter of this year, rose to 3,694,454; an increase over last year’s 3,675,689, but still less than 2019’s membership of 3,708,308.
- In 1987, the Inter-American Division (IAD) reached a historic one million mark in membership; in 2000 it reached 2.7 million and in 2008, it crossed the 3-million-mark.
- There are 23,602 congregations; 299 new congregations have been organized, which average 24.9 new congregations each month this year.
- The Haitian Union remained on top with more than 488,000 members, followed by the Dominican Union with more than 339,000 members. The third highest is the Jamaica Union with more than 329,000.
- Recorded baptisms as of June total 72,592.
- This year, figures show that 80,432 were recorded as losses –which refers to letters granted, deaths, and dropped and missing members.
- Erton Kohler, executive secretary of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said, “Adjustments are normal and necessary when we talk about adding members and subtracting members.” These adjustments can translate into strong losses, but he noted that “we are a transparent church.”
- In a population of more than 300 million throughout the territory, the statistics show that there is one Seventh-day Adventist for every 82 people.
- 23 of the 24 unions are active in ongoing auditing of their congregations through the Adventist Church Management System (ACMS).
- The only union missing from the ACMS numbers is Haiti, which recently enrolled in ACMS.
- From January-October 2021, the IAD is already 40.52 percent over operating budget and just 17.66 percent from 2020 actual levels.
- Expenses are budgeted to increase, as the region tries to end up 2022 with a balanced budget after a loss still anticipated in 2021.
- Mission offerings increased significantly to top the biggest increase in July, for a combined increase so far of 26.09 percent, or 7.47 percent above 2019 levels, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
- Net tithe income in 2021 is expected to significantly increase over 2020 amounts. It is budgeted to increase 23 percent in 2022.
- Tithe in 2020 ended up with a 9.26 percent decrease from 2019.
- “From 1932 to the present, tithes grew faster than membership,” said Filiberto Verduzco, IAD treasurer. “Tithes have grown 95 percent faster than membership.”
- A real challenge in the IAD is “local fields with severe financial weaknesses” and implementing financial oversight.
- IAD’s goal: Auditing 100 percent of entities across the division, including 100 percent of local congregations.
- So far: only 25 percent of institutions are being audited.
- The working capital available is enough to fund church activities for 39 months, and liquidity is enough to operate 21 months.
For more IAD Year-End Meeting coverage, visit interamerica.org.
(Photo: A group of top union administrators from the IAD are seen in a photo taken during the IAD centennial celebration on Oct. 30, 2021. Photo via IAD)