The early years of the 1920s were a difficult time for the western world. Europe lay devastated from the results of World War I and the economies of the United States and Great Britain suffered a depression. North America also entered a new era of secularism referred to as “The Roaring Twenties.”
At the same time the Adventist Church was fully engaged in expanding world mission. From 1910 to 1920, the number of evangelistic workers outside North America went from 2,020 to 4,336, while the number of evangelistic workers within North America only increased from 2,326 to 2,619.1 It was also during this period that the number of churches outside North America exceeded the number within for the first time.2
The down turn in the economy and the rapid expansion of Adventist world missions posed a real problem for the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Mission opportunities were available as never before, yet the crippling financial shortfalls in North America meant that such opportunities might never be realized and that missionaries already in the field might need to be recalled.
During the Autumn Council of the General Conference Committee in 1922, the delegates prayerfully decided to ask church members to give a sacrificial offering to cover a quarter of a million dollar budget deficit that year. The members responded by giving more than $350,000 over the following year to what later became known as the Annual Sacrifice Offering. This offering has continued to this day with 100 percent of the funds going to Global Mission’s frontline work, planting churches in unreached areas and people groups around the world.
The sacrifice that the church members made in 1922 is amazing when their contribution is translated into today’s dollars. Applying the cumulative inflation rate of 1,196.92% (as determined by the United States Government Bureau of Labor Statistics), that contribution of $350,000 is equivalent to $4,189,220 today.
The global economy is now facing a similar challenge to that of 1922. Yet due to the explosive growth in the world’s population the challenge is greater than ever. Let us strengthen the Church’s outreach by giving an abundant Annual Sacrifice Offering on November 12, 2011 so that others may share the joy of being citizens of Christ’s new kingdom.
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