by Loren Seibold  |  3 November 2019  |

Visit from the General Conference

Ella Simmons and John Thomas were over from Silver Spring to present and get approval for the statements on Ellen White and the Bible that are to be presented at Indianapolis.

What was unclear was the purpose of bringing these statements here for approval when they’ve already been approved by the GC Excom. Both were approved at the GC Excom without any discussion, which I found interesting, and the same was true for the Bible statement here. However, when they attempted to vote the Ellen White statement without anyone reading it, that prompted some resistance. It will be voted later, apparently. Take a look at it for yourself and see what you think. 

You may be interested to know that the mission statement of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is this: “Make disciples of Jesus Christ who live as His loving witnesses and proclaim to all people the everlasting gospel of the Three Angels’ Messages in preparation for His soon return.” What is your reaction to it? Do you find it inspiring, descriptive, helpful?

Adventist Media Ministries

Gordon Pifher chaired video reports of the Adventist Media Ministries. Gordon began by explaining that a lot of people thought that when they sold the media center building in Thousand Oaks, that Adventist media ministries would die. But it’s actually thrived by “not focusing on a building,” but on a distributed set of seven ministries: LifeTalk Radio, La Voz de Esperanza, Breath of Life, Voice of Prophecy, Jesus 101, It Is Written, and Faith for Today

One young man came to the microphone and suggested that all the ministries seemed to be aimed at an older demographic—that not many of his friends are asking about the doctrine of the state of the dead, but about more immediate needs, such as depression, or how to handle life’s challenges.

I think he’s right: we tend to present the gospel in the terms we know best. What’s that saying—”If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”?

A motion was passed that the younger and college-age people meet to come up with a plan for using more GenZ talent, and present it to the NAD and see how it could be funded.

Celeste Ryan, Communications Director of the Columbia Union, gave a personal testimony about starting in church work as a volunteer, some years ago, trying to start a magazine for her age cohort. She mentioned some of the people along the way who encouraged her and helped her, among which was Adventist Today’s own Monte Sahlin! Celeste, Monte has helped many of us along the way! He’ll have some stars in his crown.

Other Things:

All I remember from Dale Galusha’s Pacific Press report, besides the two missionary books he shared, was the importance of reading for mental and emotional health. Couldn’t agree more. 

The standout report of the day was from Dr. Les Pollard of Oakwood University. You would think, after that report, that there’s scarcely an institution in the Adventist system that has as much going for it as Oakwood does! I know from friends there that they do have their challenges. (Question: why is it that when colleges and universities get into financial straits, it’s always the instructional aspect they carve into first?) I’ve known Dr. Pollard since seminary, and I admired him then, and still do. 

Brad Forbes gave a report about AdventSource. There’s a new VBS program called Heroes, now available in Spanish. 

This last provoked a comment from the president of the Quebec Conference, who bemoaned that often they have to take the initiative to make resources available in the French language. Another conference administrator had a similar difficulty, except it was getting resources into the multiple languages of immigrants from Africa. Remember some mention at the GC ExCom about crowd-sourcing translation?

Dan and Donna Jackson: 

The last event of the morning was honoring Dan Jackson by naming a boardroom after him. I think this is an event better watched than described. Suffice it to say, there is extraordinary appreciation for Dan. I’ve rarely seen a church administrator retire so thoroughly loved.

Juan Prestol: “The challenge for North America is, Where will you go? What will you do? How will you relate to the enormous responsibility of working in your own territory? And how will you relate to the rest of the church? That’s the big challenge.” Couldn’t agree more.

This statement by Juan Prestol I found less helpful: “It’s a terrible thing when someone falls by the wayside, a terrible thing when he’s unable to complete a full life of service, when he walks away. The virtue of leadership in the Adventist church is you stay with it. God who brought you in will provide.” No, sorry, Juan. There is no shame in dropping out of ministry. I don’t know who gave you that idea. 

Loren Seibold is the Executive Editor of Adventist Today.

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