North American Division Year-End Meetings
Dan Jackson, president, North American Division
The 2016 Year-End Meetings of the Executive Committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, North American Division began at 3:00pm, on Thursday, October 27, and will continue through Tuesday, November 1. The meetings began with a report from Dan Jackson, president, sharing this year's theme: "Collaboration 2.0." His remarks were centered on the following introduction statement in Acts of the Apostles: "The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to the principalities and powers in heavenly places, the final and full display of the love of God (Ephesians 3:10 KJV).
Jackson challenged the committee by saying: "This statement must become a part of the collective experience and consciousness of the Seventh-day Adventist Church or we are a collosal failure. If your congregation doesn't represent that, if my division doesn't represent that, if the things we do at our grand convocations don't represent that, then we're failures — big time!" Jackson's appeal was that "By God's grace, we will focus on him, and not on one another. That instead of damning and criticizing, we will praise and affirm our brethren.... 'til that starts happening, we ain't goin' nowhere!" View Jackson's presentation here.
Alex Bryant, Secretary, North American Division
Alex Bryant, executive secretary, reported on membership trends within the Seventh-day Adventist Church since the year 2000. Currently we have 1,231,006 members in 5493 churches and 858 companies. The Adventist church has a higher percentage of members ages 15-19 and 55-100, compared to the general population, noting that we have fewer members in the 20-54 range than the general population.
A survey has been conducted of former and missing members asking their opinions of the church at the time they discontinued their association with the church. Of those surveyed, 24% indicated "I thought highly of it but did not feel I could live up to the standards;" 19% indicated "I was angry at the way I was treated,"
17% indicated that the church was "Irrelevent," and 16% "Thought highly of it but lost touch."
It is worthy to note that 56% of former members have happy memories but no longer attend. When asked about the church's response to their absence, 40% said no one contacted me when I left; 19% said "a church member visited me;" 17% indicated a local elder came to visit; 9% indicated the pastor came to visit them and 6% indicated the pastor made contact by mail or phone.
It was noted that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the only protestant denomination experiencing growth, and at the rate of 1.42% in 2015. In addition 8% of Adventist young adults are engaged in mission compared to 6% in other churches. Elden Ramirez, director of the Office of Volunteer Ministries, reported that over the past year 548 volunteer missionaries were dispatched from North America, representing an increase of 38 over last year. In additon, 58,950 volunteers have engaged in short-term mission projects around the world and within the North Amerian Division so far this year. View Bryant's report here.
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