26 September 2018  |  As many Adventist pastors express concern about the proposals for new “compliance” requirements and investigating committees coming from the denomination’s General Conference (GC) leaders, the North American Division Ministerial Association has published an appeal for “Pastoral Leadership Towards Unity and Trust.” It was published this week in the newsletter for pastors and written by Dr. Ivan Williams, ministerial director for the division.

Williams pointed out that he is outside “the administrative process” and has no vote at the GC Annual Council in October, although “as a ministerial leader and loyal church member” he has “questions and convictions about these issues.” His focus was on the reality that “whatever is done administratively in the name of unity and trust will bear fruit some way in local congregations.”

He urged pastors, no matter their personal opinion on the issues, to read the documents and learn as much as they can, and to “pray for your union president and the NAD president, secretary and treasurer as they participate” in the Annual Council. And he outlined a ten-point strategy for pastoral leadership with the goal that pastors will “fearlessly lead your congregation … with teachable hearts and the prayerful need for continued spiritual discernment.”

The outline includes: (1) Don’t worship your church. (2) Surround yourself with passionate leaders who think differently than you. (3) Don’t be uncomfortable with dissent in your congregation. (4) Remember that people are more important than policy. (5) Mission accomplishment is always the goal. (6) Don’t beat a dead horse. (7) Practice ministry with the spirit of optimism. (8) Don’t confuse unity with uniformity. (9) Be informed or be silent. (10) Be transparent in all you do.

Williams suggests some texts that may be useful in the pulpit in the weeks ahead. “Claim the biblical promises: The Lord is with us always until the end. (Matt. 28:20) He will never leave or forsake us. (Deut. 31:6) The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. (Matt. 16:18).”

The photo is meant simply to illustrate a typical Adventist local church somewhere in North America.

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