NAD WOMEN CLERGY STATEMENT

Women Clergy Banner.jpg

In anticipation of the upcoming General Conference Annual Council, many women of the church, and many women who serve the church, are sensing themselves to be powerless, and disrespected as partners in the membership and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Our presence and our voice are largely absent from this conversation, even though we note one of the proposed compliance subcommittees is clearly about us. As a group of approximately two hundred professional women clergy, we share the conviction that nothing ought to be about us, without us.

Additionally, we share a consensus of concern over proposals regarding governance that do not represent the heart of protestant faith, biblical fidelity or authentic Adventism; a document that advocates an overreach, if not abuse, of power that obviously misunderstands our unique governance system.

As professional clergy, we listen to, and pastor a North American Division membership concerned and troubled by this proposal. We appeal to our elected leaders (i.e. the following groups: General Conference Administrative Committee, General Conference and Division Officers, and the General Conference Executive Committee) for a careful assessment and even spiritual accountability of how this proposed compliance process represents best leadership practices for the Adventist Church. The proposed compliance committee process will take us far from our roots as a movement.

We remain in prayer for the Holy Spirit's guidance as we continue to uphold the mission of our church.

Making an Annual Church Calendar

Seth.Pierce2.jpg
BP_MakingChurchCalendar.jpg

The Bible says, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Too many churches approach ministry with a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality. Instead of carefully making plans for outreach and church life they coast along hoping something good will happen by accident, dumb luck, or God simply taking pity on their depressing lack of effort. I have found that it isn’t only local churches that struggle with this, but schools and occasionally conference departments too. A lack of planning creates an undercurrent of stress that saps energy and fun out of serving Jesus. While planning is hard work,  it prevents even harder work in the long run.

Several years ago, our church rented to a Methodist congregation and I was blessed to form a friendship with their pastors. One of their practices was to gather ministry leaders together once a year for a “war room” session. In this meeting they plotted out the entire year—from social events to sermon series. I have since adapted this concept to my ministry and have found it to be a huge help for both our church and school. While it takes creative energy and time the process isn’t hard to implement.

The first task is to pick an annual date for war room (or whatever name you like better) and make it permanent. Ours is the first Sunday of November. In the lead up to the meeting, pastoral/elder staff should be roughly sketching what sermon ideas/series/concepts they intend to preach. Other leaders should be notified of the upcoming meeting and asked to plan what special event their ministries intend to participate in and on what date. The congregation should be notified with a bulletin insert asking members if they know of any special events they plan on being involved with or that they think the church should host. The various events and outreaches should have dates attached to them and be sent to the secretary or pastoral staff.

Prior to the final planning session, a rough draft calendar should be created and emailed to all board members/ministry leaders. The pastor should be mindful of school, conference, and academy calendars as well to avoid conflicts. This calendar should have the sermon title, speaker, and text for each Sabbath, as well as times for church outreach/social events. Encourage people to make corrections and notes on the calendar and bring them to the meeting.

During the actual meeting food may be served while leaders go through each month, with the pastor chairing, finalizing events. Once everything is written out the information can be handed to a secretary to draft or, and this is recommended, given to someone in the church with graphic arts skills. The goal is to produce, on card stock, a document that has one side with the church logo/motto and all the Sabbaths with their corresponding sermons/speakers. On the other side a calendar of events should be displayed with pastoral/elder contact information underneath. Once completed, it should be made available to people in the lobby—ideally by January. This helps reduce communication, create an overarching flow with church events and sermons, and reduces a lot of stress as everyone knows what’s going on.

Seth Pierce is the lead pastor for the Puyallup church in Washington

Teachers and Students Smile at the Opening Bell

Jason Perkins2.jpg
BP_TeachersStudentsSmile.jpg

Monday morning begins in the usual way at College Park Elementary School. The bell rings at 8:20 am and the huddled masses enter the building. One would think that CPES is just your typical Seventh-day Adventist Elementary school, but once inside the building you might be surprised. It’s not the layout of the school, it’s not the building structure, it’s not that we cover a different curriculum that any of our sister schools. What is unique about CPES is the connection we have with our churches and our pastors. We have four constituent churches in the area, so you would expect some pastoral involvement. People may say that pastors visiting their local Adventist school is not uncommon, but here is why our story is so unique.

Pastor Antonio Bueno of the Bowmanville Seventh-day Adventist church realized the importance of the church and the school working together. He took the initiative and met with a number of the pastors in the area. He wanted the pastors to be involved in a way like never before. The response from the pastors was overwhelming.  As a result of that first meeting, 10 pastors are now actively involved in the school. The pastoral break down is like this 6 from our constituent churches and 4 from outside of their current area. Each pastor has adopted a class and once a week a pastor comes to their class and worships with the students. Some play an instrument and sing songs; some tell stories from their childhood or share a Bible story, and still others get their students to act out Bible skits and actively participate in the worship. The interaction has built trust and a sense of community between the pastors and their classes.

The pastors are also assigned a month end assembly where they share a worship talk with the entire student body, staff and any visitors. One could say, that “This is far more than expected”, but it this not the end of the pastoral involvement. Each pastor realized that it is not just the students who need spiritual food, so on a two week rotation the 10 pastors come and worship with the staff.  The staff are ministered to by one of the pastors between 8:00 am-8:20 am five days a week.

The teachers and students agree; the pastors coming into the school has been a blessing to all. Some of the pastors have started Bible studies with specific grades and now meet once a week after school. When you think about it, the school is a mission field for teachers and pastors to introduce each student to Jesus. We are working to help all of the students find Jesus and personally choose to follow Him.  The project which started out as a pastors coming in a few times a month to worship with a class has grown into this amazing, Holy Spirit led endeavor.  God is moving in a most wonderful and powerful way. At a time when we need the Lord more than ever it’s comforting to know that God has a plan for his children.

From the start, we at College Park Elementary School have felt that the Lord’s leading. From our early beginnings on the campus of Kingsway College we know that Jesus is the Cornerstone of this institution. It only makes sense to have Him in every aspect of each and every day. Students should see Jesus in every subject, at every recess, in every face of the staff who works here. With the pastors so involved and the students so engaged, the Holy Spirit will continue to lead. I am sure that the Guardian Angels of each student and staff member must smile when the school bell rings and a new school day begins.  

Jason Perkins is the principal of College Park Elementary in Oshawa Ontario

 

Reprinted from the 2017 second quarter issue of CALLED