Sobering Stats and Difficult Decisions as Annual Council Continues
9 October 2022 | Today’s General Conference (GC) Executive Committee Annual Council meetings were packed. Delegates voted on a lengthy nomination list, as well as an education policy change, and were briefed on the 900-page policy document. (Which we bet no one has actually read cover to cover voluntarily!)
Names: While many, many names were nominated for positions today, a few stood out:
- Bill Knott, soon-to-be former executive editor of Adventist Review Ministries, was elected to the office of associate director over at the GC’s Public Affairs and Religious Liberties Department after leading the Review staff for 16 years. He will be taking over for Jennifer Woods.
- Justin Kim, former assistant director of the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries department at the General Conference, was voted in to replace Knott. In his capacities at the GC, Kim cofounded, and then edited, the young adult Sabbath school lessons called inVerse.
- Mikhail Kaminsky was reelected president of the Euro-Asia Division.
- David Trim, the bow-tie-bedecked director of Adventist Statistics and Research, can now add editor of Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists to his list of titles.
- In 1900, North America made up 83% of the population of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Today, North American members make up only 6% of the world church. When reporting this, Secretary Erton Kölher added, “The Seventh-day Adventist church fulfilled the Great Commission….We really are a global church with a global mission.”
- The Secretary’s Report outlined the Mission Board’s new mandates and the refocusing of efforts in the mission field. These efforts include urban areas of more than one million people; secular, post-Christian populations; and regions with low Adventist-to-population ratios. Tokyo, Kolkata, and a receptive country in a restricted area meet the criteria and are the three projects currently underway.
- The purpose of this refocus in mission is to grow more missionaries out of areas which used to be the recipients of missions work.
- David Trim reported 42% of Adventists are leaving the church. He shared that the majority who leave don’t plan on leaving; they just fall through the cracks, feeling uncared for and unimportant.
- 42% was also the number of people who were willing to admit they were rarely, or never, involved with building connections with people outside of the Adventist bubble in the last year.
- In the most divided vote of the day (85% in favor, 15% opposed) the board for the Adventist Accrediting Association was passed. It appears the new changes are aimed at giving the GC more control, if Ted Wilson’s ominous comment that these people were “picked intentionally” provides a clue.
- The president of Andrews University, Andrea Luxton, voiced her concern over the number of church administrators’ outweighing the number of educators on the board.
- Motion to record receipt of the Secretary’s Report was passed unanimously.
- Motion to pass the Nominating Committee’s Reports #1-7 and elect the named individuals to the recommended posts – all passed.
- Recommendation to amend the GC Education – Departmental policies – passed.
- Vote on the board of directors for International Religious Liberties Association, Hope Channel International Board, Adventist World Radio, and Adventist Development and Relief Agency International board – passed.
The sessions are being livestreamed at: https://executivecommittee.adventist.org/live
Image: Livestream screenshot of David Trim, Director of the Archives, Statistics, and Research, presenting sobering stats.