Daniel Jackson to NAD Executive Committee: All Are Needed, All Are Wanted

The North American Division Year-end Meeting began Thursday afternoon with a message of inclusion from Division President Daniel R. Jackson. The “Collaboration 2.0” meeting spans six days - October 27 through November 1, 2016.

After orienting new executive committee members President Jackson welcomed a group of young delegates under 30, student leaders from Adventist college campuses throughout the North American Division (NAD).

Of the fourteen student leaders, who will have voice and vote, two were appointed to serve as interveners with authority to call for times of prayer if committee members "begin creating more heat than light” during deliberations.

Student body leaders from North American Division colleges and universities - committee members with voice and vote.

In the president's report, Jackson returned often to the refrain “All are needed; all are wanted.” The inclusive message set the tone for the week.

Jackson emphasized the importance of mission, saying that the role of leaders in NAD is to facilitate outward-focused mission. The mission of the division is “to reach the North American Division and the world with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.”

The president told the audience that Jesus is the center of Adventist mission, saying “If you don’t preach Jesus, you’re wasting your time.”

Jackson took a moment to recognize newly-inaugurated president of Andrews University Andrea Luxton. The audience responded with hearty applause.

Noting that the North American Division was founded in 1991 (Dan Jackson is its 4th president), Jackson said that the move out of the General Conference building into a new headquarters is part of the division’s growing up. “We must not be afraid to keep developing,” he said. He stated that it is the division’s goal to develop a culture of safe, open dialogue with room for all.

The North American Division has set itself a goal of planting at least 200 new congregations each year. So far this year, 203 have been planted already, Jackson reported.

He raised the topic of women pastors, a topic that has generated significant discussion in the Adventist Church of late. Telling delegates that their views on women’s ordination “are between God and you,” he stated emphatically, “if you have heard we are in a state of rebellion, that is simply not true.” He noted that the division plans to bring more women into pastoral ministry and pointed out that the move is solidly within General Conference working policy.

Jackson called for prayer on behalf of pastors, young people, Adventist education, and appealed to young people to lead the movement.

Talking about Adventist education, Jackson stated that within the last 10-15 years, the NAD has lost some 250 schools, and that some 20,000 young people no longer attend Adventist schools. Adventist education needs to be made more affordable, he said.

Jackson ended his remarks with a statement from Ellen White’s Acts of the Apostles: “The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ and through the church will eventually be manifested, even to the principalities and powers in the Heavenly places, the final and the full display of God” (page 1).

Executive Secretary G. Alexander Bryant followed Jackson with a report that focused on membership statistics. The report brought some troubling news, but Bryant had an encouraging message to follow the tough numerical analysis.

As of September 30, 2016, NAD is comprised of 1,231,006 members, 5,493 churches and 858 companies. In 2015, net growth for the division was 17,031 members (1.42%), which is slightly higher than the five-year net-growth average. The Pacific Union Conference continues to lead all NAD unions in membership.

Women make up more than half the membership of the North American Division, Bryant said--52.6%, approximately. The membership disparity by gender is wide when members of unknown gender are factored in. Men make up only 40.5% of membership whose gender is known, with 6.9% of members’ gendership unknown.

Seventh-day Adventists in North America are older than the populations of both the United States and Canada by large margins (see graphic below).

Graphic: Ages of Seventh-day Adventists in North America compared with populations of U.S. and Canada.

Bryant provided an age breakdown of members who have left the Adventist Church. Over the last eight years, 33.4% of members have left. Those under 50 are leaving in greatest numbers, led by those in their 30’s. Those over 60 are both the largest cohort of North American Adventist and the least likely to leave the denomination.

When asked why they left the Adventist Church, the largest group (28% who responded) cited no particular reason--they simply “drifted away.” The second largest group cited lack of compassion for those who are hurting (25%).

Among those who quit attending services, 40% said no one contacted them to inquire why they were no longer attending. Bryant repeated the number several times.

Over the last four years, 36,222 men have been baptized into the Adventist Church in North America. During that same time, women baptized totalled 57,294 (62% of those whose gender was known).

Bryant skipped over many of the slides in his presentation, but some of the things he omitted because of time merited consideration. For instance, Adventist congregations have far lower incomes than congregations of all faiths in North America. On average, Adventist congregations bring in $50,000 a year, where for congregations of all faiths, the yearly average is $151,000. For Adventist congregations, the number is down from 2008, when the average was $60,000.

Nearing the end of his prepared remarks, Bryant shared a YouTube video of an elderly lady who has been a longsuffering and longtime fan of the Chicago Cubs, who are currently playing in Major League Baseball's World Series. The lady talked about her years of sticking with the Cubs when their performances, year after year, were miserably disappointing. "If people could hang with the Cubs all those years, I can hang with the church," Bryant said. "I still believe the Seventh-day Adventist Church is God's Church," Bryant said to loud applause.

For Bryant’s full presentation, this link provides download of his PowerPoint slides.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7719

Refreshing. Thank you, Dan Jackson.

To @joshua2419

Are you saying that The Priesthood of All Believers teaching in the New Testament is “politically correct”?


The NAD leaders are certainly not in rebellion against the Bible-based doctrines of the church. They are simply, and legitimately, questioning the interpretation of General Conference working policy, on the part of the headship theologians thereof.


Take note Pastor Ted Wilson, we’re coming after you. The split is on and NAD has now included “the world” as our territory to proclaim “Christ-centered (not sex-centered), Seventh-day Adventist message of hope (not continued women subjugation) and wholeness (not splintered north against south).” Unless you and your EXCOMM “repent,” as Daniel 5:27 states, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Soon you all will be irrelevant.


Abraham Lincoln is forever immortalized in the Emancipation Proclamation, initiating the 13th Amendment.

Martin Luther, 400 years later stands as the leader of the Reformation, changing forever the history of the Christian church.

His namesake, Martin Luther King (was it prescience?) who will forever be remembered as the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, giving equality to all races.

They all were reviled for making drastic changes by those who valued tradition as something that should not be changed. This is the sentiment expressed by the larger number of the world church, yet there is nothing sacrosanct simply based on what has always been done. Had this been so important to the Adventist believers who founded this church, it would not be a world church today close to 20M members.

It is the very ones who are unafraid to step up and challenge the old ways simply because “it’s always been that way.” Leaders should LEAD or step aside as get out of the way. Progress waits for no man.
@elmer_cupino @George Tichy


~Telling delegates that their views on women’s ordination “are between God and you,” he stated emphatically, “if you have heard we are in a state of rebellion, that is simply not true.” ~ Spectrum

There is no law of God that says, “And thou, ‘History’, shalt repeat thyself.”

On the contrary, the ‘Plan of Salvation’, just like the ‘Plan of Creation’, was intended to succeed, not fail. So, also, is ‘God’s church’ – however They define it – intended, by Them, to ultimately succeed, not fail.

Yet, in SDA history there have been periods of rebellion against God that are usually not mentioned in our evangelistic efforts (if they were, there would most likely be more ‘converts’, not fewer, with more ‘staying power’), perhaps because those periods are not yet fully outgrown. Ellen once compared the rebellion of older and supposedly ‘wiser’ SDA leaders against the Bible teachings of 2 younger – NOT older – men to ‘Korah’s Rebellion’.

For this morning’s Sabbath service with my wife, by ‘Skype’ (I’m working away from home, again.) I read to her from Sermon 21 of The Third Angel’s Message series given to the assembled GC of SDAs in 1893 through the fascinating, God-blessed and Ellen-approved mind of Alonzo Trevier Jones . . . BEFORE any taint of rebellion on his own part. Notice how closely the ‘historic’ ideas and words of Jones support the current, ‘modern’ position of Daniel Jackson, who is apparently being accused – again, by too many SDAs – of leading a ‘rebellion’ against the ‘GC’ regarding ‘WO’.

Jones @ 1893 GC session, regarding the ‘Sunday Law’ movement of his day:

"Further than this: the professed Protestant churches of the United States have taken that same course now, and have also exalted Sunday, the day that they place in this government, as the Catholic church did in the Roman empire, and for the same purpose. {March 3, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 468.14}

"Further than this, these professed Protestant churches know that there is no commandment given for that thing. They say that. They say that it began with the primitive church. I do not care how far back they claim to get it in the primitive church. If it be a church institution, a church ordinance, that the church commands men to perform, it is the same thing. It is the same evil thing. Because any church that would attempt to do it, becomes in the nature of the attempt, an apostate church. Trace it to the days of the apostles if you want to, yet the church that did it is, in the nature of things, an apostate church, attempting to save itself and others without the power of God. Therefore whatever church did it, it is in the nature of things a fallen church, because it is not the church’s office in the world to command men. The church’s office in the world is to obey God and not to command men. {March 3, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 468.15}

Any church, therefore, that presumes to command men is, at the very motion of it, an apostate church. The church that obeys God is the church of God. God commands; His is the power. His is the authority. He used the church, that through it He may reflect His power and His glory unto men. But the church has no right to command anybody. It obeys God alone, too. {March 3, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 469.1}

Now I will put that in another way or state it a little more plainly. It is not the church’s place to command anybody, and it is not the church’s place to obey anybody, but God only." {March 3, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 469.2}

let’s simply replace the issue of a Biblically-false, but ‘traditional’, ‘Lord’s Day’, which Jones was dealing with in his day . . .
with the real possibility of a falsely-derived, but ‘traditional’, ‘Biblical’ argument for opposing Women’s Ordination in our day. . .
Then we find that Jones’ statements are still just as fresh and forceful today, as was that ‘Latter Rain’ experience from which he was speaking yesterday, aren’t they ? . . . except this time we SDAs are in the ‘line of fire’, ourselves – not the ‘Papacy’, not the ‘false Protestants’ – and therefore we had better ‘walk’ very ‘softly’, and avoid carrying even tiny ‘sticks’ . . . which we may have to beat ourselves with, perhaps sooner than later.

. . . if it takes the removal of a few older ‘scab’ SDAs, like myself, to free the fresher, younger generation to avoid my mistakes (and make their own ?)
. . . if it means that Daniel Jackson is to be characterized as the leader of a ‘rebellion’ against SDA church ‘authority’
. . . if it means that God is finally going to realize the success They planned for Their church
. . . then wouldn’t it still be the wisest thing – in the hope of NOT continuing to repeat ‘History’ – to at least stand back with ‘caution’ and ‘moderation’ (as Nicodemus once counselled the Sanhedrin in regard to their management of that ‘rebel’ Jesus, DA 167-168) and give this so-called NAD/WO ‘rebellion’ room to succeed, or to fail,
as God sees fit ?

“Who are you” (we) “to judge another’s servant ?
To his own master he stands or falls.
Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” ~ Paul Romans 14:4

and all of us who are heartily sick of watching the
merry-go-round of ‘History’.

Hope of being delivered from yet another ‘historic’ failure
may be nearer than we know !

‘Rebellion’ – IF it exists in the NAD – against ‘Korah’s Rebellion’ – IF it still exists in the GC – is, after all, right straight on the narrow way back to God, isn’t it ?
‘Double negatives’ and all that . . . .

1 Like

I, too, am an old Adventist. And seeing this in print is shocking to me as I really do not feel old. But having said this, I grew up in this church among the prejudices against the young people and their service to the church. We were brought up with the “do’s and don’ts” of the church or “Ellen White says this–”. This turned many people away from our church. As I grew older and wiser and studied more I found we cannot rely on what man has said but must take to heart God’s counsel in the Bible. I feel that everyone has a place in our church. Whether you are male or female, gay or lesbian or trans-gender, we all are God’s children. If a woman has a calling by God, she should be doing what God wants her to do. Who are we to hold back one person from their calling. We have much to answer for if we go against God’s wishes for his people.


“When asked why they left the Adventist Church, the largest group (28% who responded) cited no particular reason–they simply “drifted away.” The second largest group cited lack of compassion for those who are hurting (25%).”

These stats loosely mirror those found in the recent PRRI study of the religiously unaffiliated. In that research, the largest majority of respondents (59%) said that they simply “stopped believing” in the teachings of their former churches. The third largest group (29%) cited the church’s treatment of LGBT persons as a factor in their leaving. http://www.prri.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/PRRI-RNS-Unaffiliated-Report.pdf


But they are then planning on ordaining those women, which IS in conflict with General Conference working policy.

Jared, @JaredWright, or @webEd, please allow me to access the Lounge.

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The Church leaders may not be irrelevant as claimed. The church growth in the US is stagnant because we are focusing on politically correct doctrine and never the word of God. The notion is that NAD has cash and influence, therefore, it wants to dictate the show but be reminded that any action should be bible based.