During the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) Executive Committee meeting on February 25, 2021, G. Alexander Bryant, NAD president, shared an outline of the division’s quinquennial strategic focus “Together in Mission.” This focus, which the committee voted to accept, will incorporate the General Conference theme “I Will Go,” with special divisional emphasis on media, multiplying, and mentorship.
The NAD has been honing this strategic focus since its year-end meeting this past fall. Throughout the intervening months division officers met several times with union and conference presidents; the NAD leadership team (comprised of vice presidents, directors, and associate directors) and division staff; Adventist Media Ministries directors; executive leaders from the health institutions; higher education leaders; and other division institutions, including Pacific Press Publishing Association, Christian Record Services, and the North American Division Evangelism Institute.
“We've gone through the process of meeting with many different leaders to get input and suggestions on what strategic focus we can have as we move forward,” Bryant said. “We cannot maximize the potential that we have as a division unless we are all moving in the same direction with the same strategic focus.”
The three areas of emphasis (media, multiplying, and mentorship) are viewed as optimal ways forward in this strategic focus for the NAD in ultimately fulfilling its mission,* but they are also strengths that the NAD — from local churches to conferences, unions, and the division — can leverage to make tremendous impact in the lives of members and nonmembers. “The quinquennial theme is ‘Together in Mission.’ In these three areas we're going to try to find partnerships and collaborations,” said Bryant.
“Our strategic focus should naturally line up with our mission statement. The goals ‘media, multiply, and mentorship’ branch out from there,” he added. “On each level we should recognize both our interdependence and the incredible potential for collaboration; we can then take it to the next level of partnership in our initiatives and projects.”
These words from Ellen G. White are not only at the heart of the division’s strategic focus, they also influence how ministries, institutions, churches, and members may utilize the three emphases: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (A Ministry of Healing, p. 143).
The three M’s of the “Together in Mission” strategic focus fit into White’s description of Christ’s method. Media isn’t just how we receive our information, or how we share online. Media is also the outreach and relationship building in our local communities. It’s where we meet people’s needs and build trust. Multiply is the process of sharing the gospel — the “Come follow Me” part — that results in membership growth and, ultimately, disciples. Mentorship continues the discipling model and trains leaders to continue this cycle which, if done together through God’s power, will lead to exponential church growth.
“Jesus won the confidence of others by ministering to their needs, He won their confidence by mingling with them and after He won their confidence because He showed interest in them, He bade them to follow Him. That is the formula that God has given His church,” concluded Bryant. “We must proclaim and minister — we need to do both. If we're going to follow the ministry of Jesus it’s not either or — it's both.”
*The North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's mission is: To reach North America, and the world, with the distinctive, Christ-centered Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.