The Institute for Mission and Ministry has sponsored 20 Faith in Focus forum weekends in local churches throughout the Northwest conferences since 2006.
The Institute for Mission and Ministry has also sponsored three inspirational overseas study tours, two Adventist Heritage study tours and one Northwest Adventist Heritage weekend.
We sponsored nine pre-retirement seminars at five different sites for church employees who are nearing retirement.
The executive secretary's office deals not only with the infrastructure and policies of our church organization, but also coordinates the record-keeping that ensures fair and accountable processes for each employee and member. In this office, John Loor Jr. also keeps abreast of health and stewardship issues and, with Sue Patzer's coordination, leads out in the Northwest Institute for Mission and Ministry, which has sponsored geo-science trips, Reformation tours and the Faith in Focus seminars throughout the Northwest.
To provide fair, honest and consistent processes of accountability for church members throughout the Northwest.
What's Been Accomplished
eAdventist — All membership records have been transitioned from the older system of paper record-keeping to the new eAdventist Web-based system, which allows unprecedented access, flexibility and security.
Conference Consultation — Continued support to local conferences has been given to help with procedural issues and to provide continuity during administrative transitions.
Accountability Assurance — This office has maintained files and policies that ensure accountability to each member, should questions arise.
Faith and Finance — A 12-lesson practical seminar and DVD presentations management has been prepared by the stewardship department of the North American Division and has been introduced in the NPUC.
Women's Ministries — In cooperation with the women's ministries departments of the local conferences, the NPUC in 2008 sponsored a Women's Retreat at Sea, in which attendees participated in 15 outreach/service projects at isolated ports of call in Southeast Alaska. Northwest women have also led out in evangelistic efforts as part of short-term overseas mission trips in such places as Peru, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines.
The Challenges Ahead
Membership Growth — North American culture has proved more challenging to church growth than other parts of the world. Here in the Northwest, we must find the balance between nurturing existing members and attracting and keeping new believers.
Ethnic diversity — Ethnic ratios are changing. We must adapt our focus and priorities to respond to a growing number of Hispanic and other cultural forces within and without our church.
Youth Emphasis — Along with the growth of different cultures in the NPUC, emphasis needs to be placed on the youth being more involved in the governing bodies of the church.
Safe Family Summit — A Northwest-wide study has clearly shown that Adventist homes and churches are not immune to the problems of abuse, in its many forms. In response, the NPUC established a Safe Family Committee which has met regularly to review and implement study recommendations. A Safe Family Summit–Northwest is planned for the educational benefit of Northwest constituents and church leaders.
Employee Retirement — With the uncertainty surrounding Social Security and other funds, we must develop better tracking to help our retiring employees to apply for and receive their retirement funding more quickly. A new Internet-based system is helping with this.
So What Else Happens Here?
The North Pacific Union Conference executive secretary wears several other hats, including coordination of stewardship and health programs, as well as leading out in the activities and events of the Northwest Institute for Mission and Ministry.
Besides providing periodic stewardship emphasis stories in the GLEANER, this office has introduced the new North American Division stewardship series to the NPUC and provided consultation and continuing education for conferences upon request.
Health-wise, this office will continue to provide support and resource materials in health education to the local conferences in the NPUC territory.
Under the direction of Sue Patzer, the Northwest Institute of Mission and Ministry will continue sponsoring and promoting Faith in Focus forum weekends at the request of local churches, featuring some of the denomination's leading theologians, scientists and gifted speakers. Faith-affirming study tours continue to be scheduled in cooperation with Walla Walla University, the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary and Ellen G. White Estate. The strong women's ministries programs of our local conferences will continue to be supported and encouraged by the NPUC.