by Al Reimche
April showers bring May flowers...as I think about this past month, not only am I reminded of the conclusion of that little rhyme but the song "Showers of Blessing" begins playing in my mind. And that describes not only the physical reality of April but also the blessings this month has brought.
April started with another opportunity to explore church with a group of our young adults. Monte Torkelsen, our youth director, led a discussion on what a young-adult-friendly church looked like. The comments were extremely interesting in both the ideas shared and even the items missing from the list. In short, the descriptors included these: welcoming, involving, innovating, mentoring, discipling, owning, accepting ...But the strongest take away from that discussion was "vision." Our young adults are not looking for entertaining churches but rather churches that call for ownership, passion, and a direction. It is true, "without vision, the people perish."
Following that great beginning to the month's blessings, our administrative team travelled to four different locations in our conference to meet with all of our pastors. I was blessed, not only by the signs of spring all over our conference, but also by the opportunity to hear how God is directing and blessing our pastors and the churches they serve. Each area reminded me that God is pouring out Holy Spirit rain in His churches.
This last week we had a joint meeting of the Conference Lay Advisory and the Executive Committee. Over sixty people were present as we discussed the overall Conference vision and direction to be taken at the constituency session this September. Different departments shared experiences and trends they were seeing throughout the conference. Time was also taken to think through the vision for the next four years. Our last four-year statement of vision has been "Powered to Serve...Members in Ministry." The consensus of the group was that we continue the emphasis on "Members in Ministry" and look additionally at the idea of the call the God has placed in each of our lives to serve.
David Freedman shared another blessing of the month. Conference-wide, tithe is up by close to 10 percent over last year, and expenses have come in under budget for the first three months of the year. We praise God for the faithfulness of each member in our conference.
The afternoon Executive Committee met to address additional items. Some of which included inviting Alexander Bolotnikov to join our conference as a part-time evangelist with an additional assignment to coordinate the Jewish outreach within the North American Division. We also recognized Dale Milam's decision to transition back into the classroom from his position as Associate Superintendent of Education. Dale has served very well and will be missed in that role. In his place, the executive committee has asked Matthew Butte to serve as an Associate Superintendent of Education. Matthew currently serves with excellence as principal of Columbia Adventist Academy.
So April, a beautiful reminder of spring, also reminds us of the blessings of Holy Spirit rain, which, in turn, direct our attention to Jesus' soon return. What a joy that will be! And in the meantime, enjoy the rain, experience the blessings and watch for God's flowers.