Sabbath School Offerings
In 1909 the General Conference recommended that the Sabbath School give all offerings to missions, providing for their expenses in some other way. Goals and devices to record the amounts were introduced to stimulate the mission offerings. By 1913 all regular Sabbath School offerings were going for missions and a special offering was taken for expenses.
The Sabbath School currently sponsors four offerings:
- The regular Sabbath School mission offerings.
- Thirteenth Sabbath Offering . On the last Sabbath, usually the thirteenth Sabbath of each quarter, a special offering is taken, and a percentage is applied to certain preselected mission projects.
- Birthday-Thank Offerings . Members are asked to bring a token of thanks for another year of life or for a specific personal blessing received. As early as 1890 Ellen White wrote: “On birthday occasions the children should be taught that they have reason for gratitude to God for His loving-kindness in preserving their lives for another year.” Again she wrote in 1894: “Not only on birthdays . . . but Christmas and New Year’s should also be seasons when every household should remember their Creator and Redeemer. . . . do not let the day pass without bringing thanksgiving and thank-offerings to Jesus.” –Adventist Review & Sabbath Herald, November 13, 1994.
- Investment Fund. Members are invited to make an “investment” for missions in some earning project, and give the proceeds as a special offering. The investment idea was followed as early as the 1880s when certain church members dedicated such projects as an acre or more of a crop, some cattle, or some cash to provide camp-meeting equipment. At the Spring Meeting of the General Conference Committee of 1925 the plan was named “Investment Fund” and made part of the Sabbath School system with the understanding that the money received would go into the regular mission budget.