Pastor Dwight K. Nelson's 2015 MLK-Weekend sermon in which he called for an end to ethnic conferences provided the lead domino in what has proven to be a cascade of Adventist social change petitions online. First came 'Let's End Ethnically Separate Conferences,' a Change.org petition that quickly succeeded in garnering its sought-for 1000 signatures. Upon achieving this success, a second petition was posted titled 'Why Stop There?'
This second petition builds upon conference-busting momentum established by the first while taking things a step further: ending the concept of conferences altogether.
While many analysts noted that the petition to end ethnic conferences was far more popular with caucasians than African Americans, the second almost instantly drew a further 1000 signatures coming from people of all the main ethic groups served by the North American Division. It simultaneously created a storm of social media discussion regarding the proper use of church resources.
"The message here is clear," said Adventist social good organizer, Ben Rivers, who launched Why Stop There?. "The very existence of conferences, be they black or white, is a very expensive, dinosaurial relic of a dysfunctional past in Adventism."
Rivers elaborated by saying that although some administration in a denomination is doubtless necessary, "the top heavy, multi-layered, bureaucratic nightmare that parades as leadership in Adventism has for too long been bloated and inefficient."
Conferences, claimed Rivers, are an "unnecessary and overly-finicky bottom layer of church administration." He called conferences a "drain on resources and a super-producer of red tape" that often hinders church progress in the field.
"Surely our resources could be better spent directly empowering our laypeople; helping our struggling academies or otherwise growing our effectiveness on a grassroots level," said Rivers. "Imagine how much more we could do without the meddling influence of church bureaucrats."
"Unions do enough damage already, it is time to trim some fat," said Rivers. "That starts with an end to conferences."
Sevvy is a writer at the anonymously-authored humor and satire blog BarelyAdventist.com.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6601