New Opportunities Drive Church’s
Goal is to facilitate, inspire, and give direction to church, leaders say
BY TED NEWS
One hundred nine delegates from 13 union conferences and three attached fields, which constitute the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division (TED), met from November 14-17, 2010, in Becici, Montenegro. The year-end executive committee meetings of the division took place under the theme “Boundless Grace.”
Bertil Wiklander, TED president, said, “Our meeting was carefully planned to underline the mission of the church. Much time was given to the new strategic plan that focused on growth in nurture (reaching up), evangelism (reaching out), and community (reaching across). The spiritual tone of the meetings, with prayer that flowed through the business sessions, beautiful music, excellent devotionals, and a wonderful group of committed Adventists, made this meeting a delight to chair.”
Pardon Mwansa, a general vice president of the world church, and G. Alexander Bryant, North American Division executive secretary, attended the meetings to provide counsel as representatives from the General Conference.
In his keynote address Wiklander emphasized the task of the division to facilitate, inspire, and give direction to the church: “In these meetings we focused on planning how local churches can be active communities that are being nurtured by God, that are filled with commitment to God’s mission to the world, and that grow together as a faith community,” he said.
YEAR-END MEETING: Delegates at the 2010 year-end meeting of the Trans-European Division in Becici, Montenegro [Photo: TED News]
He continued, “The expression ‘revival and reformation’ comes from Ellen G. White, where she underlines that it is the Holy Spirit that drives both elements together: both the revival of our spiritual lives and the resulting changes in behavior and priorities. Since this is something that God does, our work is to be focused on Him, being open to Him, knowing Him more deeply, growing in Him, and making Him known wherever we are. Ellen G. White says that this is our ‘first work.’ In order to accomplish this work, we need to discover the biblical theme of God’s faithfulness to His creation. The Creator’s faithfulness to His creation drives His mission to destroy evil and restore the world to what He originally created it to be [Rev. 21:1-5],” concluded Wiklander.
During four intensive days the committee listened to reports and the plans from administration and departmental directors, discussed numerous policy changes, processed various items of business, and discussed current and future major initiatives such as KIDs in Discipleship, Relay (Institute of Youth Evangelism), LIFEconnect (Internet ministry), and Al Waad (media ministries in the Middle East).
Furthermore, it approved the 2011 division budget, as well as the European Pastors Council to take place in Slovenia August 21-26, 2012.
Having informed the committee of the 15 percent membership growth during the last quinquennium, Audrey Andersson, executive secretary of the division, said: “During this quinquennium secretariat’s key focus is ‘Mission With Maintenance’; finding ways to retain members and train them for mission will lead to greater growth in the next quinquennium.”
Johann E. Johannsson, treasurer, reported about the financial situation and the plans for the next year, saying that “on average the division’s regular operations have been relatively stable during the year, despite fears to the contrary. I am, however, concerned about the developments during the next year, as many of the governments of countries in our division are planning drastic cuts in their budgets, as well as tax increases that may affect the members of our church and ultimately the income of our unions and fields. We therefore want to move cautiously into the future. The division has a balanced budget for 2011, but we continue to have challenges in the operations of Newbold College. We need to find ways to balance the college’s budgets. In part, we hope to resolve this through additional income from increased enrollment, but drastic cuts will also need to be made in the operational expenses of the college. This process has already started. I want to thank all our faithful church members around the division for their support, faithfulness in returning tithe and offerings, and for their prayers for the work within our territory and in the mission fields. God has led us in the past, and He will lead our church as we move into a new year with its opportunities and challenges.”
The executive committee also voted new assignments: Miroslav Pujic has been asked to be director for publishing, ministry to postmoderns, and worship and music ministries; Clair Sanches-Schutte and John Sanches, director and associate for family ministries; Paul Tompkins, ministries to adventist youth on secular campuses (AMiCUS); Clair Sanches-Schutte, ministry to clergy families; Audrey Andersson, office personnel manager.
Reports from individual union conferences and fields indicated the full commitment of the leaders in mission outreach and evangelism. All of them recognized the challenges faced in Europe and the Middle East: postmodernism, secularism, materialism, traditionalism, and a resistance to Christian beliefs. Each report pointed out the special role of the church, namely, that the church is more than a social club, more than a group of men and women with common interests. Rather, it represents God’s activity in the world and people’s response to that activity with thanks and willing obedience.
Wiklander said, “As we focus on God, we become a deeply spiritual community, revived by the Holy Spirit, who leads us to change our priorities, improving the quality of our work and leading many to Christ. This is how I envisage the Seventh-day Adventist Church, being a prophetic church at the end of time and being charged with vision and energy in spreading the gospel to the world; knowing that, as His church, we are God’s repository on earth of the riches of the grace of Christ. Revival and reformation means to become what God intended us to be. It means change, spiritual change, with an enormous impact on our lives and the world in which we live.”
The Trans-European Division executive committee is made up of church administrators, departmental directors, pastors, and lay members representing each of the 13 union con-?ferences and three fields of the ?Seventh-day Adventist Church in 40 countries in Europe and the Middle East, including Israel, Egypt, Sudan, and Pakistan.