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The following is a summary of Daniel R. Jackson's report to the 2016 North American Division Year-End Meeting.
By Andrew McChesney/Adventist Review
Right before Daniel R. Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, opened his report on Thursday, Oct. 27, he asked all division delegates under the age of 30 to stand at the front of the auditorium. He then invited the group — numbering about 15 — to choose a man and a woman from among themselves — “because in this division we believe in women and men, just like in other divisions” — to serve as “prayer interveners” during the meetings. His instruction to the two delegates was to "aggressively" intervene if discussions got too heated.
“You are spiritual leaders through prayer,” he said.
|President Daniel R. Jackson holds up the 2017 NAD Prayer Calendar during his report on Oct. 27
[Photo by Pieter Damsteegt/NAD]
Jackson then opened his year-end report, “Collaboration 2.0,” with a description of the mission of the NAD, which is “To reach the North American Division and the world with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.”
He said that North American Adventists should keep these four words in mind from the division’s mission: reach, Christ-centered message, hope, and wholeness.
Jackson highlighted several key NAD emphases, including three missional targets, compassion ministry, prayer ministry, education, health/medical work, the six NAD “Building Blocks,” and church planting. After asking “what kind of division should we be?” Jackson stated throughout his report that in the NAD, all church members “are needed — all are wanted.”
Jackson announced that more than 200 new congregations have been established this year and called on every North American Adventist to participate in the church’s mission of spreading the hope of Jesus’ soon coming.
A person’s worthiness to serve God was not determined by education, talents, or ordination, said Jackson.
“I don’t care if you are not ordained,” Jackson told a packed auditorium at the current North American Division headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. “If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, you are a minister of the most-high God.”
But the bottom line, he said, is that every member must be involved.
|The 2016 NAD Year-End Meeting begins.
Photo by Pieter Damsteegt/NAD
“No matter who you are, God has a call and a claim on your life,” he said.
Jackson said people across the division wanted to know how to be more effective in mission and it was the job of division leaders attending the meetings to find creative ways to facilitate mission.
“If you give an adult a chair, he or she will find three to four ways to use it,” he said. “A child will find 40 ways.”
Speaking of reach, he urged every church member to not only pray for revival in their own churches but to also actively engage in their communities.
“There is no safety for God's church within the walls of a building,” he said.
In engaging, church members need to share a Christ-centered message to those around them, he said.
“If you don't preach Jesus, you are wasting your time and everybody else's,” he added.
Together with Jesus, Jackson said, church members need to remember that the church has a message of hope rooted in the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14. The three angels’ messages proclaim Christ’s soon coming.
Jackson said the Adventist Church’s distinctive, Christ-centered message also points to wholeness — physical, mental, and spiritual wholeness — that people can experience today.
Those four elements of mission can only be shared through the intentional efforts of church members, he said.
“I don’t care about your education or talents,” he restated. “All can be used by God.”
Jackson reiterated the desire of North American Division leaders to employ more women in gospel ministry across their territory and said it was up to each member to decide his or her own views on women’s ordination. But he said the North American Division’s actions adhered to the policies of the General Conference, the administrative body of the Adventist world church.
“If you have heard that we are in a state of rebellion, it's just not true. It's just not true,” he said, adding moments later, “Our emphasis on more women pastors is within General Conference Working Policy.”
Jackson was referring specifically to the employment of commissioned and noncommissioned woman pastors, Daniel Weber, communication director for the North American Division, said in an interview. Weber said the division currently has about 160 women among its 5,000 pastors. About half of those 5,000 pastors will retire over the next 10 years, he said.
More pastors will be needed as pastors retire and the division seeks to open 1,000 new churches over the next five years, a goal that the division announced last year. The division is on track to meet that goal of 1,000 church plants with Jackson’s announcement Thursday that 203 new congregations have been established since January 2016.
The division sees new church plants as vital to membership growth. It tweeted on its @NADChurchPlant account on Wednesday that new churches grow three to five times faster than established churches and reach far more people who are not members of any denomination.
Jackson ended his report with a quote from Ellen G. White: “The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ and through the church will eventually be manifested, even to the principalities and powers in the Heavenly places, the final and the full display of God” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 1).
“If it’s not transforming us, something is desperately wrong,” said Jackson.
At the beginning of the business session, one of the young delegates who was called up to the front of the auditorium asked Jackson for permission to offer a prayer. Jackson quickly agreed, and the young man pled with God to lead the meetings.
“Help us not to be divisive,” he prayed.
Jackson said he hoped that attendees would leave the meetings filled with hope.
— The NAD Office of Communication contributed to this report; watch the Oct. 28 vespers, Oct. 29 Sabbath worship service, and business sessions on Oct. 30 and 31 on the NAD Facebook page. Click here to find a downloadable version of the president's PowerPoint presentation.