Dan Jackson Shares 12* Dreams for the Church as NAD Year End Meetings Begin

SILVER SPRING - The North American Division Year End Meetings began Thursday with a sweeping vision for the Church in North America. The morning's business session began with a video presentation featuring James Nix, the director of the Ellen White Estate. Nix told the story of an instance in which Ellen was going to sign a book deal with a non-Adventist publisher, but when she was about to sign the contract, she saw an angel indicating that she shouldn't sign. So she refused. That proved a blessing for the church, Nix said, because now Adventists don't have to deal with non-Adventist publishers to publish Ellen White's writings. Adventists can publish any of her books any times.

After the video, Elder Dan Jackson, the North American Division president, rose to give the president's report. "I want to share with you dreams for the next five years," he said. Jackson said that he didn't want to amble into the next quinquennium without forethought and planning, and so he laid out twelve dreams for the North American Division.

The theme for these Year End Meetings is The Grand Collaboration, Jackson said, and read a definition of collaboration - Collaboration: To work with someone to produce or create something.

"We need to start dropping our titles and ideas about who we are and what we possess and recognize that we have all been called by God to be ministers," Jackson said. "We are all colleagues in ministry...we must pull together and be united in mission."

President Jackson followed with a rhetorical: "What comprises the expression of Seventh-day Adventism in the North American Division?" Answering his own question, he said, "Collectively, we are the expression of Adventism throughout our territory. We need to start thinking in those terms. We are stronger if we work as a team."

Talking about the various institutions that make up the Adventist work in the North American Division, Jackson said, "If you have the name 'Seventh-day Adventist' in your moniker, you are the church."

He foreshadowed upcoming agenda items saying, "We have to quit thinking through white eyes. And we have to quit thinking through African-American eyes, and hispanic eyes. We can’t think through Asian eyes. Either we are one, or we are a disgrace to the name of Jesus. Not to say there won’t be disagreement. There will always be disagreement. That’s OK." The comments seemed directed at the topic of conference structure, which over the last year has proven a source of tension. We expect to hear more on this throughout these meetings. "When it comes to mission emphasis, we must be one," Jackson said.

Then he launched into his dreams for the church in North America. "I have twelve dreams, one for each of the Apostles," Jackson said to sensible chuckles from the audience.

DREAM 1 Every member will understand themselves as a minister called by God. (Referencing 1 Peter 2:4-9)

We have made a mistake in our division, biblically speaking, by not helping people discover their ministry. Maybe the time will come when we will discover and believe that there is no distinction between clergy and laity. That doesn’t mean God doesn’t call pastors and teachers, etc. because he does.

DREAM 2 I dream of a NAD that has 7,300 congregations. We currently have 6,277. I want to add 1,000. Transformational Evangelism.

DREAM 3 Unite to celebrate expression of our faith: Days of Hope and Compassion, which will be discussed in further detail.

DREAM 4 Dreaming of Division where youth and Young Adults feel wanted and valued. They are tired of our endless debating.

DREAM 5 "I dream of NAD where we are fully utilizing all available technologies to maximum extent possible." Big Data (or as it’s now known, plain data) and social media should be used to serve congregations.

DREAM 6 Engagement with New Groups. Refugees. Seeking out new communities arriving on the shores of the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, and Guam-Micronesia. "There are more former Adventists in our division than current ones," Jackson said, noting the need for more engagement with migrant and emerging communities.

DREAM 7* ??? Wait, where did number 7 go?

DREAM 8 Houses of Prayer Everywhere. It is time for this church to be a movement again." HOPE initiative - Houses Of Prayer Everywhere. An initiative of NAD Prayer Ministries

DREAM 9 I dream of 300 successful and thriving female pastors in NAD. More women in ministry. We have increased budget to $650,000 a year for incorporating more women into pastoral ministry. We are coming to a place in North America where 50% of our pastors will be in a position to retire. Maybe not financially, but chronologically, at least. We must have all hands on deck.

DREAM 10 Pathways to Health. Partnerships to bless those less fortunate, in partnership with ASI - "They have to be our partner if we want this to succeed." Recently-appointed ASI Secretary/Treasurer Kyle Allen shouted "AMEN." Jackson noted his enthusiasm. "We must have responsible partnerships," Jackson said, calling for a message that is positive in terms of health outreach.

Dream 11 K-16 schools that are thriving. "It hurts my heart that we have closed 271 Adventist Schools in NAD, and this is a trend. Closing a school is not going to give you more more money for your church. We need to revisit theologically teaching about Christian Education. If there ever was doctrine 29, that ought to be it. It is part of the guts of Seventh-day Adventism. To say it is just too expensive is to bail on our roots."

Dream 12 A hospital and health system that is included in Strategic Planning and implementation of mission. "It doesn’t behoove us to shoot at each other. We must link arms and work together. The grand collaboration."

*When secretary Alex Bryant asked for a motion to receive the president's report (motion and second made), one attendee noted that dream number seven seemed to be missing. "Number seven may have been a lack of ability to numerate," Jackson said. "If I ever find it I will share it. There were 11, not 12."

We will fill in details of some of these dreams and proposals as they come up in the agenda during these Year End Meetings.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7155

This is the man that should be dreaming as GC President right now!. It’s too bad that SA/2015 did not reverse the backwards course of our Church.

Well, some people appear to be enjoying the current nightmare anyways…

:-1: :-1: :-1: :-1:
Pici, @blc
When I read a comment like this I am glad Spectrum allows only ONE post here. i am sure more than one of this kind would be way too much and some people could become sick!..


I don’t understand the point of the video. Surely Jim Nix would have known about Steps to Christ and the contract Ellen White signed with Fleming Revell in 1892. Check out: http://ellenwhite.org/content/file/steps-christ-printed-fleming-h-revell-company-43-c-17#document.

Suggestions for Dream 7*

  1. A new NAD headquarters?
  2. An evangelistic program that appeals to secular audiences?
  3. One pill that will cure alcoholism, meat eating, and smoking?
  4. An Adventist in the White House?
  5. A prophet of any gender?
  6. The Second Coming?
1 Like

As you may be aware concerning #1 on your list, the North American Division has already made moves to leave the General Conference building, and move into a new building somewhere in the greater Washington DC area.

Ellen wrote Steps to Christ.
She wanted a Very Wide Circulation for the Message, not the money.
So she choose Revel. They printed.
They placed it in non-Denominational book stores to reach Atheists, Agnostics, God believers.
Too bad more of her books
Steps to Christ [or the new name Happiness Disgest, etc]
Mount of Blessings
Object Lessons
Education – for the swelling number of Home School parents
Desire of Ages
Ministry of Healing – for the increased number interested in personal health. This also stresses Mental Health and Spiritual Health which is a component of Mental Health.
are not in Wal-Mart, Dollar stores – Dollar Tree, Dollar General, etc., Barnes and Noble, etc.
It is too bad the White Estate instead of Dan Jackson has to be in charge of Ellens books. Dan would see they got out there.
Yes, in the beginning, Ellen did NOT want any of the brethren handling her book Steps to Christ. Their Vision was TOO Small. Still Too Small!

You certainly are being Pessimistic!
Where is that coming from !!??
The Great Advent Movement should be EMBRACING the World.
It shouldnt be hiding from the world, and being reclusive and exclusive.
It should be proclaiming that Christ died for every one in the world,
nor just a select few Adventists.

Dream #11–
The closing of Adventist school.
Much of that is dearth of children in churches who are mostly Grand Parent Age.
Few member under 40, under 30.
Not so much paid teachers, as the ones I know are paid by the Conference.
And since our history has been to be reclusive and seclusive, we have not developed an interest in our SDA private schools to have non-SDA children enrolled.
There has been no interest in the financial base of our schools met by non-SDA students attending.
The Catholics and Presbyterians i my town see the community as a huge untapped resource for students and student tuition. As a result they have huge schools. The Catholic School system across from me have doubled the space for both elementary and high school in the past 2 years. That is how popular they are with non-Catholics.
And other Private Schools probably are set up to better teach those children than a local small SDA school. At least they are in my town.

If one recalls the statistics given the Ohio churches, the bigger memberships are around our institutions. When one gets away from them, the size of churches drops dramatically, as does the age group of the members.
The only suggestion I could give would be to develop a Home School Program promoted and monitored by the local Conference Educational Departments, North America wide. And have the Sabbath Schools on Sabbath as a part of that program from 4 years old through High School. Of course, that would mean the whole revamping of the Sabbath School teaching structure than is now in place.
That would mean our Sabbath Schools would be under the local conference Educational Departments, which would be quite a change from what they are now.

Dream #12.
A health system.
This means that EVERY church would develop plans to provide and present Health Education Programs year round in the community. Inviting Narcotic Anonymous, Alcoholic Anonymous groups to meet. Diabetes support group meeting. Inviting [if need be] non-members to present health programs, health screenings at the church open to the public. And on a continuing basis.

Stephen Wickham and friends have a great 8 session video teaching program on Reversing Diabetes. He lives in Coalmont, TN 37313, and the teaching sessions along with CD access to all the handouts is only $20.
Just about any church could put on this program. It also uses materials from The Full Plate Diet [google], LifeStyle Center of America, Ardmore, OK. Steve’s county [Grundy] in TN has the highest rate of Diabetes in TN. That picked his interest and out of that has come this program. It is a simple program – 1. Increase daily fiber intake to 30 - 40 grams per day. 2. 20 minutes of exercise a day [very simple ones]. 3. 10 - 12 glasses of water a day. And he has had amazing results.

Sorry! This is my ONE comment.

Pago – Spiritual Gift Assessments. These are usually filled out by a person, taken home, and lost.
These are usually NOT compiled by a Church Committee to assess what Gifts the members collectively have. MOST churches that I know about do not ever conduct a Discernment Program of the Church by ALL the local members. So nobody knows anything about the Church as a Body. Dont even know what they are about OR what their church is about and why it is even open once a week.
THIS is what I see as a real problem with every Local Church. Do not know where they are, Do not know where they are going, or want to go.
Like Alice in Wonderland when asking for directions. She was asked – WHERE do you want to go? She answered – I dont know. She was then told – THEN it doesnt matter WHICH PATH you take.

Dream #6 – More former SDAs than current ones.
I wonder if it might be known if they are attending some other community church or if they are essentially un-churched at this time. At least one family I know are now Baptists in a great church. The wife and daughter went to India on a mission trip last year. They send a lot of members on short mission trips around the world. The pastor does Teaching, not preaching. Does Teaching series with handout in the bulletin with “fill in the blanks” as he Teaches. 30 minute singing, 30 minutes Teaching. 3500 members. The pastor recently celebrated 25 years there.

1 Like

Another mistake that few know. What a blessing it might have been with wider distribution, but the “unfortunate” loss of remuneration by the denomination kept it in a tightly closed readership for the church only, Another decision continuing the inclusive practice of the church to keep the financial benefits as well as control of EGW’s writings. This, despite her personal wishes that it be published by Fleming Revel to guarantee wider distribution.

No. Everyone is called to minister, but not everyone is called to BE a minister. Just like everyone can prophesy but not everyone can be a prophet.

Ahhh, the numbers game. I actually dream of less congregations, led by faithful shepherds who truly know God.

Youth and young adults are wanted and valued, but show by their actions that most are not mature enough for serious involvement. Those who are mature are involved and doing great things.

Aha. More women in ministry - yes, in the sort of ministry specified in the Bible and SOP as being appropriate for women. Female pastors ??? There needs to be a distinction made between ministry and leadership. Currently, ordination to ministry = ordination to everything. But the Bible draws a line between men and women when it comest to spiritual leadership. Hence, until the official church defines all of these terms by the Bible and SOP and defines what a minister, male and female, is responsible for biblically, ordination to ministry should be reserved for men only.

My dream #11 - Adventist schools that don’t push evolution and other such unbiblical concepts to students.

1 Like

rewrote -----------------------------------------

My Bible doens’t make any difference here…

1 Like

Having a bad day, Pago.

It is fully possible to have a church with a large number of young people, aka a majority of the overall church, who are fully engaged, committed, serving God within the community and outside the community. How do I know. I am a part of such a church.

My view, based on experience, is that for a church like this to occur, the older members need to be proactive in enabling this. Once the young people have caught the mantle, they will be everything you want them to be. And church won’t be hard work, as the young will be achieving what you have sought to for years.

My question to you. Are you a part of the problem, or a part of the solution? Based on the general negativity you were expressing, I would suggest that you are a part of the problem.

But then, it may have just been a bad day in the office!


His dreams are lauded, and Ellen White’s dreams and visions are often passed off as products of a brain injury as a child. But it is what we’ve come to expect here at Spectrum.

How is that possible with all the “Spiritual Gifts” assessments which have been conducted over the years? Have they finally figured out that this method does nothing but show what one’s interests are, or maybe their wishful thinking? Many people have discovered their “ministry” by following Solomon’s counsel: Whatsoever thy had findeth to do; do it with thy might. Prov. 9:10.

1 Like

Well, I am with you on that George. Dan Jacksoin should be the Prez of the GC and not Wilson the Second.

1 Like

It seems to me Dream 11 is a step in the right direction, but falls just short of what’s needed. I think that we need to put more emphasis and resources into our Sabbath Schools than worry about opening new schools. That’s not to say we SHOULDN’T open (or preserve) our schools, of course.

The household economics in North America mean many families can’t afford the high price of Adventist education, so their children avail themselves in the public system. And they should not be ashamed of that reality. Recognizing that, the church should put even more efforts into children’s ministry (SS, Pathfinders, etc.) so that ALL our children come to know Jesus, not just those who go to our schools.

Also, doubling down in Dream 1 in adult ministry too, because a parent will be a child’s first minister. So let’s give them the tools…which may even overflow outside the home!


@JaredWright: Re: Dream 6: The quote from Jackson did not follow from the goal. If we have crowds of former Adventists here (and we do), why is the goal to seek out new populations – highly vulnerable populations at that? Finding new members, for however long they’ll deign to stay, doesn’t make the bucket any less leaky.

Re. Dream 9: Did they share any stats on pastor attrition by union and gender? As well as accounting for an older workforce and the 50% expected to retire, I would also expect to hear plans for mitigating the attrition of current female pastors and for attracting many, many more female theological/ministerial students. Did they go into that degree of detail or was this just the highlight reel?

We have to ask the same kinds of questions about membership goals, and thanks to David Trim and the Secretariat, we seem to be. It makes no sense to have a big goal that we know is going to be half eaten up with folks retiring, moving to other jobs, or burning out.

1 Like