November 26, 2015: Secular news media in Botswana have reported considerable unhappiness among the pastors in the Adventist denomination’s South Botswana Conference. There are “fears” among members “that the issue is likely going to split the church,” reports Mmegi, a national newspaper.
The paper stated that seven pastors will be laid off for “underperformance” based on church member evaluation of their pastors, but were “not given the terms of reference for the evaluation” and were “not formally … informed.” As a result, “pastors are demanding [administrators] explain to them whether [the conference] has financial problems or not and how their performance is measured,” according to the newspaper.
There are local elders “who are against the exercise,” Mmegi was told by an Adventist source. “Some senior pastors have” told the conference president “that a better solution should be sought rather than … retrenchment.”
The Adventist conference “is marred by factions,” the source told the newspaper. Because a constituency meeting is coming up “some believe that the exercise is done … to take down those who are not in support of the current president.”
The source also told the newspaper that the process “is illegal,” although there is no indication of the basis for this statement, whether or not legal counsel has reviewed it. This opinion does hint at the possibility of the situation resulting in litigation.
Pastor Lesotho G. Mosarwe, the president of the South Botswana Conference, told Mmegi he is “not allowed to talk to the media regarding church issues,” according to the newspaper. Then, later sent a message stating “we will come back to you after consulting with our consultants on the matter.”
The conference consists of 80 congregations in seven districts of the relatively small African nation of Botswana. It has a membership of 18,688 among a total population of more than 600,000 with a total of 26 ministers. The growth rate for the conference has averaged about four percent per year for the last decade, more than twice that of the growth rate of the Adventist denomination in North America.