Oregon Makes History with Pastor-Teacher Conference
History was made Jan. 3–5 when all Oregon Conference pastors and educators came together for pastor-teacher meetings held at Holden Convention Center. “To my knowledge,” says Don Livesay, conference president, “this is the first time we’ve done this in the Oregon Conference.” Wayne Wentland, associate superintendent of education, adds, “Not only is it the first time, it’s about time.”
According to Wentland, the meetings provided an opportunity for educators and pastors to discuss, find commonality, and unify on issues affecting both. One of those issues involves the significant funding concerns in Adventist education. “We realize we’re in the same ministry of saving kids for Jesus,” says Anita Molstead, associate superintendent of education. “What can we do to help parents realize [Adventist] education is worth the cost?”
Helping to provide an answer to that question was keynote speaker V. Bailey Gillespie, Ph.D., executive director of the John Hancock Center for Youth and Family Ministry at La Sierra University. Gillespie presented information from the Valuegenesis2 study (2000) as compared to the initial study in 1989. During the Valuegenesis2 study, faith and values in the context of family, church, and school were assessed in a population sample of almost 25,000 students in Adventist schools.
The results? “Kids are more spiritual,” says Gillespie, “and the Oregon Conference has the highest faith maturity in North America.” From his research, Gillespie also discovered that the longer kids are in Adventist schools, the more attached to church they become and the lower the instances of at-risk behavior.
“The challenge now,” says Wentland, “will be to turn the data into positive action.”