The first division report presented at the 2022 General Conference Session was from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America (NAD). In the morning on June 10, the NAD officers, president G. Alexander Bryant, secretary Kyoshin Ahn, and treasurer Randy Robinson, introduced the video report that concentrated on the quinquennium (2015-2020) plus the past two years — largely told from the perspective of church members and leaders from across the division.
“We bring greetings to all of our brothers and sisters from around the world on behalf of the nearly 1.3 million members of the North American Division,” began Bryant on the GC Session stage. “We want to thank God for the miraculous things He has done in our division over the past seven years, which you will see in the video.”
Ahn shared that the North American Division territory spreads across 14 different time zones, from Bermuda, all the way to Guam and Micronesia, where “every day, our members are God-loving communities serving people and our churches are gearing up to be a beacon of hope for their community.”
“Together in mission, we will continue to proclaim the message of hope and wholeness in our territory. We believe that is the mission God has placed in us,” Ahn added.
Robinson talked about some of the concerns going into the COVID-19 pandemic. “We wondered how we would continue to fund our mission,” he said. “By the grace of God, through the profound generosity of His people, funding continued to flow. And yes, it even increased to further the ‘Together in Mission: I Will Go’ focus.”
Bryant expressed his gratitude for the division’s membership and for what God has done. He continued, “We are asking God to do even more, and we need everyone in every aspect of the church to get involved, … therefore we have selected the theme ‘Together in mission, I will go.’
“We in the North American Division are more committed than ever to spreading the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe we are stronger together, we can have a greater impact working together, we can go farther together,” he said. “And by God's grace, we will usher in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ together. Pray for us as we pray for you. And as we move forward together in mission, 'I Will Go.'"
Highlights From the NAD Report
Below are some of the highlights from the North American Division’s video and written report.
[Click here to see the Adventist Review GC Session Bulletin 3 for the full written report.]
During the past seven years, the NAD has been focused on spreading the distinctive Christ-centered Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness. Since 2015, nearly 220,000 people were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, churches creatively baptized people, baptizing them in local lakes, rivers, and streams. A few reports indicated that some were even baptized in a bathtub! In other cases, pastors put on their masks and, in empty churches with just a family member present, baptized people at the local church.
The focus has been on not just adding members, but on making disciples. The emphasis has been to inspire each member with the knowledge that God has given them unique gifts to use for Him in drawing men and women to the heart of Jesus and presenting His love and the news of His soon return.
In 2015, under the leadership of Daniel R. Jackson, who was serving as president of the NAD,* the division launched an initiative called Plant 1000, a vision to plant 1,000 new congregations by 2020. The NAD was well on its way to achieving that objective, but COVID-19 curtailed those efforts. By God’s grace, however, the NAD and its membership planted more than 900 new congregations across the division by the end of 2020.
In addition to centers of influence beginning to multiply throughout the territory, NAD churches operated more than 1,500 food distribution centers during the past few years.
And as a division, together in mission, the NAD reached the $1 billion annual tithe threshold. During the quinquennium and for the years 2020 and 2021 the tithe in North America totaled more than $7.4 billion. Many used the platform called AdventistGiving, a tool where members in North America can return tithe and give offerings to their local churches online — without being physically present at church.
To assist our local conferences, where most churches and schools closed during the height of the pandemic, the North American Division provided what was termed a stimulus package of more than 10 million dollars in funding, and most unions added their own funding in addition to this unprecedented appropriation. Nearly $2 million was also provided for those involved in community outreach and relief through the NAD Adventist Community Services ministry department.
The North American Division has a total of 918 childhood programs/schools in its educational system. This includes a variety of configurations of the pre-K to 12 platform. The division operates 13 colleges/universities. All counted, 3,808 early childhood students, 37,817 elementary students, 11,680 secondary students, and 20,939 college/university students attend division schools.
During the pandemic, shutdown schools went online. As they reopened, in many cases they transitioned to a hybrid model, managing students in-person while at the same time managing students online. Educators had a herculean task to keep students on track with their educational pursuits while helping them cope with the mental strain and stressors that COVID-19 unleashed. Across the NAD, there has been an increase in enrollment in the pre-K to 12 program.
Five healthcare systems collectively lead 1,148 clinics/hospitals throughout the division. They are engaged in the healing ministry of Jesus every single day and thousands are touched by their compassionate ministry. This pandemic revealed the level of commitment, courage, and resolve they have in delivering care and healing at the risk of their own lives.
At the division office, a new NAD website and branding strategy with visual identity, in line with the General Conference, was launched during the quinquennium. The magazine Adventist Journey was also started in partnership with Adventist World magazine, through Adventist Review Ministries. The division engaged in conducting high-quality virtual meetings through the Zoom platform, revolutionizing how the business of the church can be accomplished.
* Daniel R. Jackson retired on July 1, 2020, and G. Alexander Bryant was elected president of the NAD in July 2020.