Executive Committee Report - April 2015
This past week our executive committee had its bi-monthly meeting and addressed a variety of decisions which direct the focus of our conference. Before we began the business portion of our meeting we were inspired by hearing about a number of miracles taking place the past few weeks in our conference.
We have been blessed by a donation from an anonymous group who wants our schools to have a fresh start and a strong sense of mission right here in our “own backyard.” They believe in our Adventist educational system, and wanted to show that belief in a very tangible manner. It was exciting to be able to share the gift with some of our schools and watch as the “lights came on” and the dream of what could be became a reality sunk in. There was a strong desire expressed by the donors that our schools be the training ground for members in ministry, and that along with a solid educational experience, an emphasis on empowering every student to share the gospel within their sphere of influence would result.
In addition to that donation, another exciting opportunity has been given to our schools to expand their ministry to new students. An offer has been made that any kindergarten, first grade, or ninth grade student who has not had the opportunity to attend an Adventist school be given that privilege. As a result, funding has been made available to accomplish that vision. Already we have seen the impact that gift is making in the lives of these new students.
One of our pastors on the executive committee shared the excitement of having a youth pastor join the team as a result of a commitment by a family to provide the necessary funding for the next two years. All these miracles have been made possible as members have sensed a calling by God to see His work go forward and have become more engaged in ministry throughout our conference.
Paul Cole, director of Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS) also shared with the executive committee the vision of PACS. He described the expansion of PACS' ministry to not only include a unique food bank, thrift store, and medical ministry, but also a vision for opening a dental clinic as well. God has blessed with individuals willing to donate equipment, time, and funding to purchase a building, set up dental supplies, and provide the skills to make this a reality.
Following these stories we had to return to the reality of decisions that needed to be made: addressing finances, companies being organized, churches changing names, and young pastors being considered for ordination. One of the decisions that we spent some time discussing was a document addressing a culturalized version of our 28 fundamental beliefs. Our committee has approved the formation of a Jewish-Adventist congregation, and in an attempt to make sure that our fundamental beliefs are clearly understood within the Jewish context, we have asked the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference to make sure that nothing is “lost in translation” as we reword these statements. I praise God for a committee that is willing to grapple with financial and legal issues and still take prayerful time to understand our mission and message as a church.
Let me add one other event that happened following our executive committee. This past weekend I had the privilege of meeting with all of our pre-ordained pastors and interns, and once again I came away blessed – blessed by the dedication, vision, and passion of our new pastors. To hear them articulate visions of their churches, to listening as they wrestle with tough issues both within the larger church and in their local congregations, to experience their love for Jesus and to see their calling to ministry – I came away refreshed. God is still working powerfully in His Church and we can be confident in the future as we remind ourselves of His ongoing leadership in our lives now.
Article written by Al Reimche and originally published in the May 2015 issue of The eCommuniqué. Click here for a pdf of the entire May 2015 eCommuniqué.