A Report from GC Annual Council
By Dan Linrud
It’s always a blessing to gather with global Adventist leaders and members from around our world church, and Annual Council is one of those times.
I am heartened by the gracious and faithful guidance of God in the life and journey of His Church, which has been reaffirmed in this week’s proceedings.
There were many significant reports of God’s outpouring as a result of sharing Jesus with others around the world. The global church averages one new Seventh-day Adventist member joining the church every 23 seconds. One new member every 23 seconds! Praise God!
Other emphases at these meetings included the acknowledgment of significant levels of members having disengaged from the church and the need for intentionally loving them back into fellowship. There was a strong focus on the need for ongoing discipleship and for learning better how to love people more fully to better retain and involve members in the life of the church.
There were also positive reports from Secretariat regarding mission and membership and from Treasury showing that global giving is holding steady. There was an emphasis on the need to be more intentional with stewardship training in the local church, especially with younger generations.
Monday, October 9, the afternoon featured consideration by members of a document presented by the GC administration. The 14 page document delineated proposed conditions for future qualifications for full participation (voice and vote) of Executive Committee members based on committee members signing a declaration of total policy compliance by their respective fields.
The GC administration acknowledged that the document was motivated by non-compliance of several unions with regard to ordination of women. They also indicated that there were other areas of non-compliance across the world field that would be relevant to this requirement.
As the Executive Committee members spent considerable time discussing the matter, several major points influenced the eventual outcome.
1. There was significant concern about only receiving the document in the business meeting at the time of consideration. It was deemed to be too little notice to consider this size and scope of document.
2. It was felt that there needs to be wider input from GC, union and conference personnel.
3. There were deep concerns about the very concept of any document requiring signed agreement of Executive Committee members for full committee participation (voice and vote) when the constitutional basis of membership in most cases is exofficio (based on their respective positions by election of their local constituency). Many members believed this to be out of harmony with the explicit and implicit intent of current GC Bylaws.
For these reasons and others, the document was not approved, but voted to be referred back to the Unity and Mission Committee for further review.
The GC Administration was also encouraged to follow through on prior commitments to foster greater dialogue with unions across the world field with which there are concerns of non-compliance.
Even though this was a significant discussion on matters of import with diverse perspectives, the Holy Spirit produced a spirit of respectful unity In the discussion and outcome.
Overall, the Lord’s presence and clear leading in this Annual Council meeting was evident. This was a direct answer to the prayers of His faithful people here in the Oregon Conference and around the world. For which we give Him praise!