Reviewing the Review: Transparency edition


(system) #1

December 17, 2009 - Vol. 186, No. 35

GENERAL COMMENTS This issue is information, inspirational, and well-edited. It is also an important issue because it contains two MUST READ editorials and one MUST READ local mission report.

In AN OPEN LETTER TO AN ADVENTIST LEADER, Carlos Medley calls for greater transparency in ministry and explains why it is important and how it can happen.

“I want to see greater transparency in how we conduct God’s business. Too often church members are clueless about the progress, the challenges, or even the status of our conferences, union conferences, and division.

Through the Internet our leaders could make available audited financial statements, baptismal and membership reports, and strategic plans for members. I believe church members want to know how offerings are being used to build up the kingdom of God.”

A CERTAIN SOUND, OR A COMFORTABLE SOUND? Is a reminder by Fredrick Russell that God raises leaders who are people of their times.

Next summer our corporate church will be deeply engaged in the selection process of leaders who will take the helm in leading this denomination at a pivotal period in both the world and our church. Now, more than ever, there is need for leaders of the Issachar variety, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do (see 1 Chron. 12:32).

There should be concern when any growing organization settles for comfort, status quo, and familiarity, especially in the critical area of leadership. While most of us have a penchant toward the familiar, the familiar is not always necessarily what’s best. And may I quickly add that that’s not to say there is no value in the familiar, because there is. But it spells death to any organization where that is the sole criterion.

There comes a moment in leadership selection for any organization where familiarity and inbreeding can present a challenge. In any organization (church, corporate, academic, etc.) that plays out when people are in a leadership context so long that everything and everybody has a sameness to it. Fresh perspectives are absent. New approaches are rarely considered. Different thinking can sometimes even be threatening.

A LIGHT FROM ARTICHOKE LAKE by Wendell Pearson recounts how a church of twenty-eight members could enter the mission field.

As Inspiration would have it, in the early summer of 2005 Grams moved to Appleton just as the Artichoke church was receiving a letter from an inmate at the 1,500-man medium security prison. ‘Would your church,’ the inmate asked, ‘bring a Seventh-day Adventist meeting to the men at Prairie Correctional Facility?’ And just like that, the Lord answered. The proper arrangements were made, and within weeks the church had penetrated prison walls. It had found its mission field.

For a denomination that may lack the name recognition of Catholic, Lutheran, or Baptist, the Adventists have made their presence known at Prairie Correctional Facility. Through their efforts approximately two dozen men have joined the church, having been baptized or joining by profession of faith. 3ABN is now available on TV in every cell. More than 100 VHS tapes and DVDs are available for viewing in the chapel library. And books by Ellen White and other Adventists are widely read. The most recent addition to the prison’s chapel library: the 10-volume Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, a gift from Charles and Pam Hanson.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2070