Stories & Commentaries
By Dan Weber, Communication director for the North American Division
The Year-end Meeting of the North American Division (NAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church began Thursday October 29 with the theme “The Grand Collaboration.”
Over the next seven days, members of the NAD Executive Committee, special guests and presenters would attend a series of business meetings, devotionals, and worship services focusing around the theme of “The Grand Collaboration,” to determine the direction of the division for the next five years.
The morning business session started with the President’s Report from NAD President Daniel Jackson, focusing on his “Eleven Dreams for the Division” for the next five years. After reminding Executive Committee members that “The Grand Collaboration” is all about placing our hand in the hand of God and allowing Him to lead us and to shape us, Jackson then outlined his vision for the division.
Jackson called for a sense of unity in the mission of the church by saying, “Either we are one, or we are a disgrace to the name of Jesus. We are stronger when we work as a team.”
Jackson shared his “dreams” for the division as eleven strategic goals:
- “I dream of a North American Division where every member is actively involved in growing the Kingdom of God. Where all members live out their lives in Christ with the knowledge that they have been called by God to serve as MINISTERS.”
- “I dream of a North American Division which has 7,300 congregations. (Currently we have 6,277.)”
- “I dream of a North American Division where we unite to celebrate the expression of our faith in our communities.”
- “I dream of a North American Division where our Youth and Young Adults are actively engaged in the Mission of the Church and feel wanted and valued.”
- “I dream of a North American Division where we are fully utilizing the available technologies to the maximum extent possible.”
- “I dream of a North American Division where we are actively seeking out the new communities that are arriving on the shores of the United States, Canada, Bermuda and Guam – Micronesia.”
- “I dream of a North American Division where every church throughout our entire territory is a House of Prayer.”
- “I dream of a North American Division where we have 300 successful and thriving female pastors.”
- “I dream of a North American Division where members are actively involved in blessing their communities with Health Ministries – where partnerships are developed to do large and small events to bless those less fortunate.”
- “I dream of a North American Division where our K-16 schools are thriving as a result of the collaboration of pastors and teachers who see each other as colleagues in ministry.”
- “I dream of a North American Division where our Hospitals and Health Systems are included in our Strategic Planning and in the implementation of our Mission throughout our territory.”
NAD Secretary G. Alexander Bryant presented his Secretary’s Report sharing the latest statistics from around the division, which included 1,206,885 church members, 5,472 churches and 840 companies as of July 2015. The rate of growth for 2014 was 1.43 percent, with an average of 98 people a day joining the church.
A troubling statistic was that the 251,166 new members who joined the church between 2009 – 2014, were offset by the 132,998 people who left church membership. Several committee members went to the microphones to share their concern over these figures and the entire executive committee joined in corporate prayer asking for God’s guidance in finding ways to reach those who have decided to leave the church.
Elden Ramirez, the director of the Office of Volunteer Ministries, then gave a brief presentation of the roles that Adventist volunteers play in the mission of the church. So far in 2015 there have been 49,632 people from the NAD who have participated in short term volunteer projects all around the world. Currently NAD volunteers represent 46% of the people serving on short-term mission projects around the world.
At the conclusion of his report, Bryant shared some interesting facts that they had compiled in the preparation of his report. These included:
52.4 percent of the membership in the division is female
More than 80,000 young people participate in Pathfinders and Adventurers
There are 105,650 Young Adult members in the church
A large percentage of the church membership is 45 – 90 years of age
One final troubling statistic was that during the past 50 years there have been 33 million people who have joined the Adventist church, but of these, 13 million have left after being baptized. This represents a net loss of 39.25 percent, a fact that the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church needs to prayerfully address.
All 2015 NAD Year-end Meeting news, including the reports of the president, secretary and treasurer, is online at www.nadadventist.org/YEM2015.