A Word from the President
by Al Reimche
It was as if she was talking to our leadership of the Oregon conference as she talked about the mission. This dynamic speaker was addressing a large group of CEO's, physicians, and hospital board members which included our Adventist Health Corporate board.
The presenter, Leanne Kaiser Carlson, challenged us as she described the importance of having a mission. She was addressing how to have successful hospitals but my mind went immediately to our conference as the parallels are extremely obvious.
She started her presentation by saying that “organizations anchored in mission attract people who invest more of themselves.” This is so true. Jesus never started his mission by saying, “Here are the benefits of employment as my disciples.” In fact, the opposite was true. His statement to those early disciples was “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Matt 8:20. Monetary gain, status or prestige were not the motivating factors for the apostles. Instead, it was passion for the mission that they had been called to that inspired them and the early church. “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Leanne then asked the question, “If we couldn't pay people, how many would work for us?” As I have thought about that question I praise God for the commitment of our “members in ministry” throughout this conference. Recently, I had the privilege of speaking in one of the prisons in Oregon and discovered a group of our church members committed to visiting the prisoners every Friday evening. That one ministry is happening all over our conference. Not paid, but motivated by the mission. Just last week one of our veteran members in prison ministries was killed in an auto accident. Who will answer the call to continue where this member left off?
We're thrilled with all of the ministries that are going on throughout our conference. There are Sabbath School teachers, children's division leaders, Bible workers, community service programs, members sharing evangelistic series, trips outside of our conference on mission trips, the volunteers at our churches and schools - all designed to draw people to a loving Savior. Not a dollar is given in compensation; instead, the motivating force is the mission. God has called all of us to something bigger than ourselves, to a task that takes all our skills, talents and, in fact, our whole hearts.
As I visit throughout our conference, I am blessed to hear stories of members in ministry and see the passion for the mission. Leanne wondered about how many would volunteer. In our conference we have over 35,000 members in ministry! In Paul's words "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil 1:3-6