The Northwest chapter for Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI NW) is finalizing plans for its annual convention, which highlights efforts to share the Adventist message and mission across our region and around the world.
Fred Cornforth, a Boise, Idaho, area businessman who continues in his role as ASI NW president, has worked to enhance business connections throughout the organization. “We want to help local business people within our local Northwest churches become part of the face of those churches,” he says. "If they have a heart for God’s children, that church and those members can become a force of active service within their communities. They can become a church that would be clearly missed in that town if they would cease to exist.” Cornforth says that might mean a business person using their employees to feed the hungry once a week in the community, or helping with a free medical clinic, or going each Thursday morning to the local high school to serve breakfast.
ASI NW is increasingly collaborating with Walla Walla University (WWU) in encouraging business students to plan how their future careers can intersect with and support mission. This year’s ASI NW Convention, coming April 18–20 to the Walla Walla University campus in College Place, Wash., will highlight this partnership. A unique Adventist “Shark Tank” program on Saturday evening will evaluate five to seven student business inventions. Each WWU student team will have 10 minutes to present their ideas. A panel of expert business judges will ultimately award prizes: First place gets $5,000, second $3,000 and third $2,000. The audience at Village Hall that evening will get an opportunity to have their votes count as well.
This year’s convention, with a theme of "Love Serves," will feature keynote speaker Karl Haffner, former WWU Church pastor and currently teaching pastor at Kettering Church in Ohio. Sabbath activities will also include a colorful mission pageant, highlighting the impact of ASI efforts around the world.
Directly following the convention in April, Cornforth’s business group, CDI, is also partnering with ASI NW to sponsor a Nonprofit Bootcamp experience (see the ad on the inside back page of this issue). It will be held at the WWU Rosario Marine Station facilities, April 21–26. Cornforth says this effort is designed to help grow the capacity of nonprofits within the Adventist community. Training tracks will run the gamut from legal and marketing concerns to charting accounts, fundraising, cash flow and social media use. This initial effort will provide basic certification for 75 participants. More advanced training is planned for next year.
Cornforth is eager to see the gospel advance through Adventist members. “Instead of isolating our churches to protect the faithful,” he says, “let’s encourage our faith to grow by allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us for good.”