#GCAC21: Last Day of Annual Council Ends with Church Leaders Telling People to ‘Go’
14 October 2021 | The fourth day of the 2021 Annual Council of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee focused mainly on the “I Will Go” strategic plan. “I Will Go” falls within the framework of GC’s Total Member Involvement (TMI) initiative that was started in 2016 and aims to get every church member actively involved in sharing the gospel. Digital evangelism also was at the fore.
Compared to the previous three meetings, this last business session on Oct. 13, 2021 definitely seemed less dramatic. The last sessions of Annual Councils rarely seem to feature pressing items. In pre-Covid times, the last meeting was usually poorly attended as members scrambled to catch their flights home. Is there a correlation? You decide.
Other highlights included:
- Abner Dizon, director of Adventist Muslim Relations at the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, gave the morning devotional, “Are We Ready for the Harvest?”l
- ”We say, ‘I will go!’ in response to our Lord’s command. But there’s another command that we should obey before we take up that command of “I will go,” said Dizon. “[Jesus] gave them this order, in other words, it’s not an option…Don’t go — until you have received the promise of my Father.” Dizon pointed out we must be empowered by the Holy Spirit before undertaking missions.
- James Winegardner was introduced as the new head of Adventist Risk Management (ARM). Adventist Risk Management, Inc. is the risk management and insurance company of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It “provides risk management services and insurance product solutions to assist the Adventist Church in eliminating oversights that can lead to costly accidents,” according to its website. Winegardner was senior pastor of the Keene Adventist Church in Texas and has 25 years of experience as an attorney.
‘Go’ and Get Your Game On
- The denomination’s “I Will Go” strategic plan objectives were shared.
STRATEGIC PLAN OBJECTIVES
The plan outlines 10 objectives, divided into the categories of Mission, Spiritual Growth, and Leadership.
- To revive the concept of worldwide mission and sacrifice for mission as a way of life involving not only pastors but every church member, young and old, in the joy of witnessing for Christ and making disciples
- To strengthen and diversify Adventist outreach in large cities, across the 10/40 Window, among unreached and under-reached people groups, and to non-Christian religions
- To make developing resources for mission to non-Christian religions and belief systems a high priority
- To strengthen Seventh-day Adventist institutions in upholding freedom, wholistic health, and hope through Jesus, and restoring in people the image of God
SPIRITUAL GROWTH OBJECTIVES
- To disciple individuals and families into spirit-filled lives
- To increase accession, retention, reclamation, and participation of children, youth, and young adults
- To help youth and young adults place God first and exemplify a biblical worldview
- To strengthen the discipleship role of pastors, teachers, and other frontline workers and provide them with regular growth opportunities
- To align world church resources with strategic objectives
- To enhance the transparency, accountability, and credibility of denominational organization, operations, and mission initiatives
HOLY SPIRIT OBJECTIVES
To be defined as the Holy Spirit leads.
Whether or not they are successful at achieving these objectives will be measured by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as
- A worshipping group is established in each country of the 10/40 Window where there currently is no Seventh-day Adventist presence (Mission KPI 2.1);
- At least one Center of Influence operates in each urban area of one million people or more. (Mission KPI 2.4)
- Youth and young adults embrace the belief (FB 22) that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, recreational use of drugs and other high-risk behaviors, and embrace church teachings (FB 23) on marriage, and demonstrate sexual purity. (Spiritual Growth KPI 7.2)
- Increased number of children from Adventist homes and churches attending Adventist schools. (Spiritual Growth KPI 5.9)
- The GC produced an online evangelism game called Adventist Teams. To play, participants must complete missions to get TMI points. The points are then used to unlock rewards and training to help players improve their Digital Missionary skills.
- North American Division President Alex Bryant supported the idea of digital evangelism and encouraged entities to find a way to work together.
- Director of the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research David Trim reminded everyone that evangelism is not enough, keeping members in the church is also important.
- Interestingly, the presentation of The Great Controversy Project 2.0 (the GC’s plan to distribute copies of the book in 2023-2024) avoided mentioning the exact number of books it planned to give away. General Conference President Ted N.C. Wilson had previously mentioned that up to 1 billion books would be distributed.
- A child-friendly version of the book is also being planned.
- Public Campus Ministry which serves Adventist students and faculty on public university campuses around the world is celebrating Public Campus Ministry (PCM) Day on Oct. 16, 2021. It is designed to connect the local church with Adventist students and staff on public campuses.
See you next year.
(Photo: Abner Dizon, director of Adventist Muslim Relations at the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, gave the morning devotional during the last day of the 2021 Annual Council business meetings on Oct. 13, 2021. Photo via 2021 Annual Council video.)