Adventist World Radio’s 2018 Annual Offering will take place on March 10.
AWR president Duane McKey talks about what the offering is, why it’s vital to AWR’s operations, and what new initiatives are on the horizon.
What is an “annual offering”?
Institutions and ministries of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC) are each given one worldwide offering day per year on the official offering calendar of the church. In AWR’s case, our offering usually takes place on the second Sabbath in March in most world divisions. This is an opportunity for church members throughout the world church to support our ministry with a one-time offering.
How much of AWR’s funding comes through this offering?
AWR is a donor-driven ministry. We depend on the support of generous people who want to see the gospel message preached to the whole world and see Jesus return. AWR receives funding from the General Conference, which takes care of salaries. This allows the funds that we receive from the annual offering to go directly into our mission and outreach projects.
How are offering funds used?
Donations from supporters go straight into AWR’s production and transmission (airtime) costs. Other costs, such as staffing and administrative functions, are covered by appropriations that come through the church system.
In places that are not specific target areas for AWR’s radio broadcasts, such as North America, the question arises: should we give our offerings to support world needs or use them for local needs?
By church policy, AWR’s priority has traditionally been on “broadcasting to areas that have limited opportunity for outreach activities, low membership to population ratios and large territories, the inability to access other broadcast media, and other special circumstances. Such outreached people groups are found in the countries of the 10/40 Window.”
Thanks to the Internet, AWR is now also heard around the world through on-demand programs, podcasts, apps, and social media. This has hugely expanded AWR’s ministry and given us a 24/7 presence with listeners worldwide.
Despite this wider accessibility, however, the concept of the whole church supporting a particular ministry is still relevant, and the GC sees AWR as a major vehicle for evangelistic outreach. There are literally billions of people who have never heard about the true God, and we have a tremendous passion for doing everything we can to introduce them to Christ. Our motivation is simple: we want Jesus to come.
While North America continues to be a major source of our funding, and our direct fundraising is concentrated primarily here, we also receive generous donations from donors in other countries, for which we are very grateful.
What new initiatives is AWR currently working on?
The largest one is a partnership with other GC departments and the Southern Asia-Pacific Division to create a Center for Digital Evangelism in the Philippines. This is an ambitious but much-needed plan to set up a system for the Adventist Church to respond quickly to online inquiries from around the world and nurture contacts digitally until they can be connected with local churches. AWR is taking the lead on this project, as we already have a connection with millions of people around the world through our broadcasts. Our goal is to complete the circle from broadcast to baptism, and ensuring that every contact is followed up on is a key part of this process. You’ll be hearing more about this exciting endeavor in the months to come.
Under the same broadcast-to-baptism philosophy, this year we are continuing our expanded approach to evangelism, by partnering with leaders and church members in the Philippines, Zambia, and Japan. Special series of radio programs are paving the way for in-person evangelistic meetings, which will increase the visibility and interest in the Adventist Church’s message. We were astounded at how successful this combined effort proved to be last year in Romania, other Eastern European countries, and the Philippines, and the countries we are working with this year are excited to be involved.
Streaming audio and video have exploded in popularity, accompanied by the growth of social media communities in which people interact with the broadcasters through texting and share the content with others. AWR is establishing relationships with church members around the world who have demonstrated success in these platforms – such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and YouTube – and is facilitating training in diverse countries.
Without question, we are living in exhilarating times. AWR’s longstanding slogan of “No walls, no borders, no limits” continues to capture the essence of our ministry, and we praise God for opening up new avenues through which we can share the message of His love with those who need it most.
To download communication resources that you can use in your local church to raise awareness of our annual offering, please visit awr.org/offering.
by Shelley Nolan Freesland, AWR Communication Director