NAD Year-End Meetings Report Slow Growth, Headquarters Move


(system) #1

NAD Newspoints 10-31-14

SILVER SPRING — "The ultimate goal for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America (also called the North American Division) is Jesus and His soon return," said Daniel R. Jackson, President of the Division, in his report that kicked off the first full day of the 2014 North American Division Year-end Meetings. His report was addressed to 325 members of the Executive Committee gathered at the Division’s headquarters.

“Jesus is everything! He is the reason for our existence and our focal point,” said Pastor Jackson who then reminded everyone that “It is not a crime to preach about Jesus in our churches.” Jackson began by reiterating the mission statement of the Division, “To Reach the North American territory and the world with the distinctive message of Hope and Wholeness.” Delegates received the statement with resounding "Amens!"

Jackson pointed out that the North American Division “is a division where the sun never sets. The division where the fun never sets,” Jackson said to laughs from the attendees.

While Jackson’s report began with a hopeful message of the vision to share hope and wholeness across the territory, the Secretary’s report painted a picture of the real challenges that have kept the growth of the Church relatively stagnant in North America

The Adventist Church in North America added fewer new members in 2013 continuing a gradual decline for the fourth year, while the net growth rate increased minimally according to data presented during the Secretary’s report.

G. Alex Bryant, Executive Secretary for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, cited sobering figures from the Seventh-day Adventist World Church during his report. While the Adventist Church has baptized nearly 32 million people in the last 30 years, more than 11 million of them have left the Church. The church of the North America Division is not immune to this trend.

In a survey of Adventist members who have left the church, 25 percent cited a lack of compassion as the reason for leaving. Another 32 percent cited “not fitting in” and “too much focus on minor issues.”

“Former members were more concerned with hypocrisy in the Church than they were about worship style and theology,” Bryant said. "When was the last time we argued about that?”

Recent discussions about the ordination of women to the ministry have caused debates at various levels of the church, Jackson said to delegates. But as Christians, he continued, we are called to discuss issues with the understanding and compassion modeled by Christ.

“I don’t think it’s part of our mission to start attacking each other just because we don’t agree,” Jackson said. “I’m not saying for a moment that we don’t have the right to disagree, but God has given us the responsibility to share His love.”

Jackson asked that the North American church members seek “higher ground” during these challenging times while the discussion about ordination builds up as General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas in July 2015 approaches.

Quickly, Jackson transitioned to the impending move of the North American Division’s headquarters from the Adventist World Headquarter’s building. He stated that the NAD was beginning plans for a relocation because the division needs to “grow up.”

“[The NAD will move] because that’s the natural progression for an organization that has been tied by the apron strings to Mommy and Daddy for too long,” said Jackson. He was referring to the fact that North America, while called a division since 1910, was not “an organizational unit” until much later. Jackson also gave examples of other territories of the world church that have relocated in the last 20 years.

Jackson also highlighted a recently launched campaign called “Pray One Million,” asking church members to pray for one person for one minute each day. Thus, each four-month period leading up to the General Conference Session, members of the Church in North America will have prayed 1 million hours. Watch the video.

“The time has come, Brethren, that we rise above. That we reach out to higher ground. That, while we have our conversations, we not lose sight of what God really wants us to be focusing on. I want to urge you to participate with me in the Pray One Million Initiative.” said Jackson.

Elden Ramirez, director for Volunteer Ministries, was the highlight of the Secretary’s Report. He shared that 52 percent of missionaries worldwide came from the North American Division and that nearly 52,000 volunteers have been sent from North America in the first three quarters of this year.

“What’s exciting is that there were 10,000 more volunteers than last year. That’s 10,000 more people making a difference in this world,” Ramirez said. “But we’re not done yet. There are still positions that need to be filled, and we are hopeful that, by the end of this year, we will be able to fill every volunteer position around the world.”

One of the high points of the morning business session was when Jackson welcomed the student association presidents (pictured below) from NAD Adventist colleges and universities who were attending the session as new delegates with full voting rights. He urged them to speak up and voice their opinions.

“If I paid $1,500 to attend a meeting, I would make sure my voice was heard,” he said with a chuckle.

During his presentation Jackson highlighted several items of interest that would be discussed during the business meetings including:

• Reports on the six Building Blocks of the NAD Strategic Plan • A statement on human sexuality • A “Mission to the Cities” update • A report on the North American Division headquarters relocation • A conversation on the ordination of women to the ministry in the context of the upcoming General Conference Session vote • Oakwood University joining the North American Division • The transition of media ministries in the Division

Jackson concluded by reminding delegates that throughout all of the challenges, we must rely upon the understanding of God’s Word.

“Jesus ought to be at the center of every doctrine. Our only hope for the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Jesus,” Jackson said. “Jesus is our Hope yesterday, today and forever!”

This report from North American Division Newspoints bulletin for 10-31-14. Julio C. Muñoz is Associate Director for the Department of Communication.

Photos courtesy Dan Weber / NAD


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6384

(Ron Corson) #2

Jackson began by reiterating the mission statement of the Division, “To Reach the North American territory and the world with the distinctive message of Hope and Wholeness.” Delegates received the statement with resounding “Amens!”

What I find interesting about Adventism is their dependence upon code words in practically everything they say. In this case Distinctive Message. Would not a mission statement saying “To Reach the North American territory and the world with the message of Hope and Wholeness.” that would be enough. It is clever in a way, also very deceptive in a way.


(Rheticus) #3

There is much to agree with, and a few things to disagree with, in Jackson’s reported approach.

[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:6904”] “To Reach the North American territory and the world with the distinctive message of Hope and Wholeness.” [/quote] This lacks specificity…

[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:6904”] a survey of Adventist members who have left the church [/quote] This shows a willingness to make decisions based on relevant data - always a good thing

[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:6904”] asked that the North American church members seek “higher ground” [/quote] Parochial jargon, again lacking specifics

[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:6904”] beginning plans for a relocation because the division needs to “grow up.” [/quote] This misses the fundamental point - the NAD is a division of the GC. There may need to be a super-union covering the US which is as independent of the GC as the current Unon Conferences are. Moving the Division does not address this goal - and arguably goes against it.

[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:6904”]a recently launched campaign called “Pray One Million,”[/quote] This is one of the same-old-same-old trite excuses for inaction that dominate real action in this, and many other, Christian denominations

[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:6904”] 52,000 volunteers have been sent from North America [/quote] This misses two points - (a) that such volunteers are really intended to change the volunteer and the targets perception of the volunteers organization more than to help the target, and (b) that such volunteers actively under-cut the targeted economy unless very carefully targeted at areas where there is a real shortage of skilled personnel

[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:6904”] Jackson highlighted several items of interest that would be discussed during the business meetings [/quote] There are, as every Spectrumite knows, many issues

  1. WO
  2. Evolution
  3. Homosexuality
  4. Dishonesty in the origins of and use of the EGW writings
  5. and many more

One must choose one’s windmills, but to ignore Evolution and EGW dishonesty is to ignore two of the issues causing those 30% to leave


(Tim Teichman) #4

Overall this sounds promising.

Wow. Sad, but not surprising. This is reflected here on Spectrum, where much of the reporting on what is going on in the church reflects relatively petty arguments over topics that have largely been decided outside of the church.


(Steve Mga) #5

Thanks Bevin …
This begins to discuss a few of the puzzle pieces of
the Report that was left out.
Many good words, without specifics.
IS our NA ultimate Goal Jesus and His soon return?
CAN that be listed as a Goal? WE have nothing to do
with it. As Jesus said, Only the Father knows what the
Real “Conditions” for saying, “Jesus, GO!” are.
When it comes to non-SDAs and inviting non-SDAs to
Listen, What is “HOPE”? How is it defined that is different
than what they have, and How do we and they know when it
is recognized that They have received it?
WHAT is Wholeness? Again How do we define it for the non-
SDA person so they can gauge in what ways they are only
partially a complete person?
Other than Sabbath and a couple other Beliefs, what Does the
Local SDA church down the street from their Sunday church
offer them that they would like to separate from family and friends
and church activities, and be excited about it?
We are still shackled by Local churches not wanting to invite just
anyone to worship in their midst. Will this change with the discussion
on Human Sexuality?
Will the NAD allow ALL the Unions to have Women and Men Ordained
pastors, Women and Men Union and Conference Presidents, Women
and Men Division President?
Is Women Ordination a part of the discussion on Human Sexuality?


(Marianne Faust) #6

Why does it seem so important for us to have a DISTINCTIVE message. Why is the Gospel not enough?


(Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13) #7

In cultures increasingly affected not only by diverse beliefs, but by rejection of theism, the Gospel is more distinctive than ever.

Sadly, there’s an influential stream in Adventism that accuse of heresy any leader who doesn’t speak in terms of a distinctive message.


(Steve Mga) #8

The Gospel Lived Out, EGW, COL 384

The Completeness of Christian Character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within – when the sunshine of heaven fills the heart and is revealed in the countenance…
GOSPEL RELIGION is the Grace of Christ revealed in Character and wrought out in Good Works…
If we love God because He 1st loved us, we shall love ALL for whom Christ died…then the pity and compassion of Christ will be manifested in our life."

Is this Wholeness, or is there more? If more, What?


(Rheticus) #9

The SdA do have three important distinctive messages

1 - That authority in God’s people flows from the member up through the servants, not in the pope down through the minions

2 - That health is an important part of the religious life

3 - That there is no separate soul from the body, but rather the soul and the body are one, and the dead are DEAD, not suffering

But the SdA also share a non-distinctive message with almost all religions - that there is ONE God, and He cares about us in a good way.


(jeremy) #10

as in the apostles’ day, so it is in ours: many messages are floating around out there, but only one is true - only one leads to eternal life…hopefully our church will always be the voice of truth in our world…


(Steve Mga) #11

The She’ma. But my Jewish friends would say, I have 3 Gods. I make their “Spirit” of God a God. And then there is Jesus my Christ as the long looked for Messiah.
Our God is looking out for our best interest and does not need to be appeased in order to like us. That is why we are asked to “rest” every 7 days. That is why He sends rain on the “just and unjust” the same. That is why He gives good gifts unto Humans, again the “just and the unjust.” That is why He wants us to take care of our bodies. We offer our “rest” as a gift to God, we offer our cared for bodies as a gift to God. That is why He asks us to care for and look after our neighbor’s needs of mercy and justice. All He asks is to Act like Him.
Our God wants to have Fun with me, and want me to have Fun with Him.

We reject the Greek view of death [which some Jews subscribe to today], and maintain the Old Jewish concept of death from the OT.

We accept the Bible as being given Once from God, but we Receive every day. His Words are demanding, yet sweeter than honey, more precious than gold. A treasure that teaches us how to be human and holy. It revives the spirit, delights the heart, informs the soul, opens the eyes, grants us a glimpse of Eternity. It reflects His love. Each day we can choose to reject or accept it, each day we can choose to accept and be blessed by its teachings. Our Eternity with God begins, has begun, Now.

In the Hebrew mind there was little concern for the Sweet Bye and Bye, the streets of gold. This was because it was being with God NOW that was the important event in their lives. God being with them NOW.


(Tim Teichman) #12

I’ve never heard this before. Do you mean that literally, as if the bible fell from the sky one day, or is that more poetic (you are rather poetic)?


(Frank Peacham) #13

“Jackson’s Pray One Million asking church members to pray for one person for one minute each day.”

This reminds me of the Tibetan Buddhist spinning prayer wheels which is said to have the same meritorious effect as oral prayers. Jesus put his finger on the questionable prayers “for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” Why not support a campaign to love mercy and do justice?


(Frank Peacham) #14

“The ultimate goal for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America—is Jesus and His soon return,” said Daniel R. Jackson

If Jesus is SOON coming, why go in an expansion-building project in moving NAD into new facilities? Could we see William Miller building a new house or barn? We act as if the Return is not any time very soon, while we teach/preach it is very soon.


(Winona Winkler Wendth) #15

Adventists are one of the only Christian denominations who connect bodily health with spiritual health—we probably inherited this from India via Emerson and the transcendentalists. No matter where it came from, though, this is not a unique approach to spiritual health.


(Tom Loop) #16

“Jesus is everything! He is the reason for our existence and our focal point,” said Pastor Jackson who then reminded everyone that “It is not a crime to preach about Jesus in our churches.” Jackson began by reiterating the mission statement of the Division, “To Reach the North American territory and the world with the distinctive message of Hope and Wholeness.” Delegates received the statement with resounding "Amen

Dan Jackson’s words above should ring from sea to shining sea in USA and worldwide. For too long we have been bogged down in all kinds of issues that divide us, and have us circling the wagons facing in for a shoot out when we should be facing out proclaiming with loud trumpets the good news of JESUS CHRIST. I find Dan Jackson the man of the hour to lead our church during this difficult time. I have heard this man’s convictions, and him speak plainly
about the need to make our church relevant to folks, especially young people and the disenfranchised in the 21st century.

Do you want another five years of retrench and reload, with stand in a circle and shoot in if TW is relected in Alamo town next year. If not get out of the bunkers and get behind Dan Jackson and catch his vision. He is the best thing to happen to NAD that I can think of.


#17

I think you may have misunderstood what Matthew 6:7 really means. If you quoted more of it, it would be more clear.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. NIV

Is not what Jesus spoke out against. But rather, none stop babbling, and in front of people, solely for the reason to be seen and heard. Holier than thou attitude.


(George Tichy) #18

@ajshep

Hi Allen,
Have you noticed these details?


(George Tichy) #19

Marianne,
When (IF!) you figure this out, don’t forget to tell me…


(Winona Winkler Wendth) #20

If William Miller were living in his uncle’s house and not getting along with his cousins very well, yes, he’d probably go about finding a place of his own (although he would have to ask his wife for the money . . . ).