Moving Forward Together
When I was a newly baptized Seventh-day Adventist young adult, I had family and friends who were not in the church. The Holy Spirit had poured the love of Christ into my heart, and my first impulse was to share with each of them the eternal good news I had found.
Fortunately, I had a pastor who was willing and eager to teach me how to give a Bible study. One of the illustrations he shared with me was about lining up fence posts. When we look at one fence post, he said, we don’t really know how it will eventually line up. It could point in any direction. But when you line up another post and then another and another, the direction becomes crystal clear.
In similar fashion, I believe it’s important to honor the unity of truth as it's found point by point in the Scriptures and to align ourselves and every element of our church with common beliefs and worldwide mission.
So, I am delighted that our North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) executive committee has voted a revised mission statement to bring us more into alignment with the North American Division (NAD) and General Conference (GC) mission statements. This important consistency of mission cannot be overstated. Aligning our mission at all levels of the church will point us in the same direction as we seek to lead people to faith in Christ Jesus.
Intentional alignment is a simple but clear statement that we are all on the same team. It means we find our unity in mission and direction, even though each component may use creatively different methods. Unity in mission is not strict uniformity in action — it welcomes the implementation of ministry approaches uniquely appropriate to each region of our territory and the world. None of us want to be like David struggling to go to battle in Saul’s armor. Pastors, teachers and outreach workers, I’ve found, are most effective when wearing their own armor.
The mission of our church in North America and around the world is actually accomplished as a partnership of each area of our organization. But where the proverbial rubber really meets the road is within the local conference level at the front lines where churches and schools minister. So, a central purpose within our NPUC mission is to serve as a resource center for each local Northwest conference to support our collective world mission through local churches and schools. We also aid Walla Walla University (WWU) in its mission to educate committed workers for the church.
In addition to approving a revised mission, our executive committee has also adopted three strategic priorities for 2017–2020, based on this mission and the advice of our local conference leaders. Right at the top of those priorities is a focused effort to reengage with young adults as vital partners in Seventh-day Adventist mission and ministry.
Right now, our administrative team is working on defining our core values, as well as detailed strategic plans directly connected to our three top priorities. We hope to propose additional ideas in these areas to the NPUC executive committee in August.
I want to work with you in prayerfully and persistently asking, "Are we pulling in the same direction for His glory?' Only as we are collectively aligned on mission in every conference, church and school within NPUC will we be able to move forward together in our divine calling.
Methods may vary, but my prayer is that we can find our unity in a common focus on God's divinely appointed mission. May each of us be fully engaged with effective, efficient and united efforts to share our “distinctive, Christ-centered Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness” throughout the Northwest and the world.