Spectrum Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on the North Pacific Union Conference GleanerNow website. It is reprinted here in its entirety:
Call to Prayer for Annual Council 2018
GLEANER EDITOR’S NOTE: Many Northwest members are concerned over specific efforts by the General Conference administrative committee to encourage worldwide unity through measures of compliance. There are legitimate questions on differing sides of the discussion on what these plans are designed to accomplish. While some applaud efforts to achieve consistent compliance in global church practices, others worry that recent and proposed actions are in opposition to the church’s long-standing democratic governance structure.
In preparation for the Oct. 11–17, 2018 Annual Council meetings, when the General Conference executive committee will more formally act upon these issue, where does the North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) stand? The short answer is: We stand in the need of prayer. It seems clear to us that decisions made in this year’s meetings may indeed affect the nature of our church and its mission for years to come.
At this time, there has been no NPUC executive committee action on an official position statement regarding issues of unity and compliance.
However, NPUC leaders are issuing a clear call to prayer, with specific principles and values of our church in mind. These values include honoring the wisdom of representative governance, where local churches, conferences and unions are trusted to adapt methods of our corporate mission appropriate to their own communities and territories. They include a time-honored principle that the strength of our world church flows up from the grassroots, not from the top down. Our unity as a people is not centered on committee action. Unity is found in our collective connection to Jesus, God’s Word and the Spirit’s call upon our hearts.
Therefore, Sabbath, October 13, is designated as a Day of Fasting and Prayer. We encourage Northwest members to join others around the world field then and throughout the Annual Council meetings, asking the Spirit to move the hearts of those who will vote to determine future directions for our church.
Below find the four Call to Prayer messages that will be issued online and via our social media each week leading up the Annual Council.
To be informed, read more on the actions of the General Conference administrative committee, including additional perspectives and responses in this critical discussion leading up to Annual Council. Several links are provided below.
SEPT. 20 … Unity in Mission
Our North Pacific Union Conference mission is to share hope and wholeness in Jesus — the essence of the Three Angels’ Messages. Unity in our church is found when we respect each other, even in our differences, to follow our Christ-centered beliefs and mission. Ellen White had it right: “Nothing can perfect unity in the church but the spirit of Christ-like forbearance.” We draw closer together when we draw closer to Jesus and truly become brothers and sisters as the body of Christ.
Please pray with us that decisions made in this year’s Annual Council (Oct. 11–17, 2018) will embrace unity in mission by exhibiting respect for one another in the spirit of Christ-like forbearance.
SEPT. 27 … Representative Governance
Our world church’s representative form of governance, affirmed by Ellen White, enables every level of the church to adapt appropriate methods of mission to their territories. Inflexible policies or procedures can too often be counterproductive, creating roadblocks for mission. Different levels of the world church are more effective when they can adapt methods to carry out mission within their unique cultures.
Please pray with us that this year’s Annual Council meetings (Oct. 11–17) will trust God’s Spirit to empower every level of our world church to appropriately apply the mission to their unique territories.
OCT. 4 … Trust in Jesus
The disciples learned it on that wild and windy night on the lake. It’s a lesson we must also learn — to trust Jesus, even in the midst of storms. Our trust in Jesus calls us to look to Him for solutions, both in our personal lives and for the mission of our world church. We look away from human politics, and turn to steadfastly focus on Him. As the body of Christ, we are called to move forward together on a journey of faith as He provides the strength and wisdom.
Please pray with us that those who cast their votes at this year’s Annual Council meetings (Oct. 11–17) will trust Jesus for divine solutions. May God’s Spirit be the source of all that is done and said.
OCT. 11 … May God’s Love Prevail
Annual Council meetings begin today and continue through Oct. 17. Northwest church leaders have joined others from around the world in Battle Creek, Mich., where so much of our church’s history is centered. May each member of our world church executive committee recall the wisdom of our early pioneers on church governance balanced with Scripture and the Spirit’s leading. May they heed Ellen White’s warnings against human effort supplanting God’s Spirit.
Please pray with us that we will allow Jesus to be the center of every discussion and every decision. Pray that each world church leader will be inspired by God’s Spirit, God’s Word, God’s wisdom, God’s love, God’s power and God’s solutions.
This article by the Gleaner Editors was originally published by North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) Gleaner/GleanerNow.com and is reprinted here with permission.
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