Ad Hoc Mission Advisory Group A Few Figures, Facts and Findings

North Pacific Union Conference Ad Hoc Mission Advisory Group members encountered a number of comments as they talked with people in their home conferences. Some of the recurring concerns were:

This advisory is a waste of energy, time and money. Let's eliminate the union level of organization. Let's eliminate conferences and put those responsibilities directly under the umbrella of the union. Let's combine some conferences to save money. Let's keep some of the tithe in the local church to be used for local ministry. Let's find a way to make Adventist education affordable.

Some of these questions fell outside the scope of this Advisory Group. While the union/conference structure of the church should be addressed, it is so systemic to overall world church governance and financial flow, it requires an entirely different study from a more representative group. This committee decided to instead focus on several key areas that could be effectively changed within the NPUC.

Here is a summary that highlights just a few of the recommendations offered by the Advisory Group in their five main areas of focus. A fuller report is available HERE

Advancing the Mission of the Church

Encourage the inclusion of young adults in leadership positions and on boards and committees.

Intentionally develop diversity in denominational leadership positions and on boards and committees to better reflect the constituency demographics.

Consider creating a lay member coordinator position to develop a network/pool of laity willing to use their gifts to help others within the NPUC accomplish its mission.

Communicate and illustrate how the principles of united action and pooled funds benefit the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

Actively address the large number of inactive members within the NPUC by encouraging an intentional reclamation ministry.

Communicating to Members

Develop a communication plan to advance employee and member understanding of the purpose and function of the union and conferences.

Invite recommended local church invitees to attend conference and NPUC committee meetings where appropriate.

Recognizing tithe has not kept up with inflation for the past three decades, implement a plan of education in regard to stewardship principles of tithe and offerings and the use of tithe.

Efficiencies in the Use of Funds and Personnel

In order to shift a higher percentage of resources and people to the front lines of ministry, the following recommendations should be considered:

Reduce the current ratio of one NPUC office employee to 2,447 members to 1 to 3,000 and no greater than one local conference office employee to every 700 members where feasible.

Move more resources to support the hiring of additional pastors, teachers, Bible workers and evangelists.

Seek ways to consolidate services and ministries among the conferences and union to avoid unnecessary duplication.

Decrease administrative costs at union and conference levels with fewer face-to-face meetings and more frequent use of video conferencing and electronic and Web-based meeting software.

Identify funding priorities and develop a strategy to reach ministry goals, with contingency plans to cope with the potential of a further decline in the economy and tithe income.

Evaluating the Structure and Organization

The Advisory Group's report contains this statement: "Past experience has taught that ill-considered conference restructuring can set back mission in that region. In light of the desire to move mission forward, the advisory wants to be measured in its recommendations, while still addressing expressed concerns that the union or the conferences should be abolished or at a minimum restructured. ... The advisory suggests that if a study into a restructure be deemed necessary, that committee members from this advisory be included in that process." Note, however, the accompanying graphs that show how some adjustments have indeed been made at union and local conferences in the past 25 years.

Adventist Education

Form a plan to identify and visit every NPUC-area Adventist school-age person in regard to attending an Adventist school.

Create a plan to make education affordable and available to all Adventist parents who desire an Adventist education for their children.

September 01, 2011 / Perspective