6 Oct 2022 | Welcome, everyone, to Adventist Today’s reporting of the General Conference (GC) Executive Committee’s Annual Council. For those just joining us, the Executive Committee is the governing body voted to govern the church, surpassed in authority only by the General Conference Session. This year’s theme is “I Will Go – Be His Witness.” Based on the theme, we can expect to hear more about the I Will Go strategic plan, which was shared at the end of last year, and the Total Member Involvement initiative started in 2016.
Education was a major topic for the delegates, 108 of whom are new, who were brought up to speed on Adventist missions, voting procedures, the state of Adventist schools post-COVID, and how livestreaming works.
Ted Wilson opened the education report with a warning. “In many cases, we are facing a crisis…you may see your school disappear from the hands of the Seventh-day Adventist church!” He blamed the large population of non-Adventist students and lack of preventative measures for the loss of character of our schools. Due to this loss of character, he said, our schools slowly die.
Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, GC Director of Education, painted a different picture, however. Enrollment in our schools has gone up, worldwide, by about 7%. COVID did impact enrollment, but the numbers show that we’ve returned with a marginal increase, except in the secondary and tertiary levels, which are still struggling. The war in Ukraine also disrupted studies at the 24 schools there. Finally, she raised the struggle with challenges to the Bible as an authority and stated this was being addressed, but did not state how the Adventist Accrediting Associated planned to combat this.
Other Notable Highlights:
- Dr. Michael Campbell, director of Archives, Research, and Statistics for the North American Division, gave an overview of the history of Seventh-day Adventist missionaries, and Sun Hwan Kim, director of Adventist Mission for Northern Asia-Pacific Division, shared how the Northern and Southern-Asia Divisions are working together on the 1,000 Missionary Movement.
- Technology got the better of GC Undersecretary Hensley Moorooven when he introduced Election Buddy to the delegates. Gesturing with a paper containing his personal login information, he commented, “Oh, no camera is on here, right?” as the livestream viewers got a clear, but partial, view.
- The council voted to reaffirm Mark Finley’s updated document, “God’s Promised Gift.”
- The Three Angels’ Messages report was delivered by the GC General Vice President Guillermo Biaggi.
- Resources for sharing the three angels’ messages with anyone can be found on the website threeangels.info and other useful free media.
- The chair, Mark Ryan, had all the committee delegates stand and read aloud a passage from Testimonies to the Church, vol. 9, reminding them they “have been entrusted with the last warning to a dying world.”
- Nancy Wilson shared her experiences with sidewalk ministry in New York City.
- An uninformative update on The Great Controversy Project 2.0 was given by video. Ted Wilson’s one billion copies has been changed to millions in the promo.
The sessions are being livestreamed at: https://executivecommittee.adventist.org/live
Image: Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, GC Director of Education, talking about student enrollment numbers. (Screenshot of Annual Council YouTube livestream.)