MMM, What’s That? It’s Day 1 of the North American Division 2021 Year-End Business Session
01 November 2021 | The North American Division (NAD) of Seventh-day Adventists 2021 annual executive committee year-end meeting had its first business session on Oct. 28, 2021 in Columbia, Maryland, USA. Though the meeting is themed “Together in Mission,” the members were not together in person as the session was held virtually for the second year in a row because of the pandemic. To watch the entire business meeting, click here.
- The NAD Executive Committee has 300 members, and 142 attended through a virtual platform. Of the 300 NAD Executive Committee members, 125 are new this year.
- Todd McFarland, General Conference associate general counsel, was appointed as parliamentarian by common consent (a procedure that allows for a body to agree to appoint an individual for a given role with the understanding that any member may voice an objection and call for a vote of the business session, if so desired).
From the Top
- G. Alexander Bryant, president of the NAD, said in his report, “During a pandemic when church [buildings] have closed, we see an unprecedented tithe gain,” alluding to the figures that Randy Robinson, NAD treasurer, will share in his report next week.
- Educational growth: In the NAD’s early childhood program, student numbers increased by 1,295, with 158 centers and 4,347 students; in pre-K through eighth grade, numbers increased by 3,801, with 37,809 students; and in high school, numbers increased by 583, with 11,672 students.
- The division has 1.2 million members on the books, but only 50- 65 percent are actively attending and participating (about 500,000 to 750,000 people).
“We’ve hung around the one million membership mark for about a decade. We’ve experienced incremental growth — and you can do incremental growth in your sleep,” Bryant said.
Everyone Do the MMM-bop
Looking for exponential growth (which multiplies as it adds), the NAD executive committee voted in February to focus on the three areas of media, multiply, and mentorship.
- Media: the NAD needs to explore opportunities to network and collaborate across all organizations to maximize and expand the utilization of media, which includes traditional media but also video, online media, and social media, especially Facebook.
- Multiply: The division typically adds 35,000-40,000 members a year, but for 2022 it is looking to to have 50,000 disciples/new members.
- Mentorship: The church has aging leadership. Of the administrators who are eligible for retirement now — presidents, secretaries, and treasurers — 40 percent currently serving are eligible for retirement. In the next five years, 61 percent become eligible to retire; and 78 percent of presidents will become retirement-eligible.
- Transitions in leadership, from the local conference to the division, are already taking place. At the division, two of the three executive officers were voted in last year. Five of the six vice presidents in the NAD were voted in April 2021. Also, out of 59 conferences, 25 have new presidents since this time last year.
- Adventist Retirement reported seven years ago that in 10 years, 50 percent of NAD pastors would be eligible to retire. “We have approximately 4,000 pastors. We don’t have enough people in the pipeline in our schools to replace 2,000 pastors if they were to retire at their eligibility years,” he said.
- And of course, no committee meeting would be complete without the formation of another committee: Executive Committee members met to select a nominating committee.
(Photo: G. Alexander Bryant, president of the NAD, gives his report on Oct. 28, 2021, day one of the North American Division Year-End Meeting. Photo by Pieter Damsteegt)
The above NAD reports were edited by AT staff.