November 28, 2013

Adventist Church Implements Assessment Plan for Urban Mission

BY ANSEL OLIVER, Adventist News Network

Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders have established a plan to encourage and assess mission to urban areas, a step that comes amid an ongoing call from the denomination’s president to conduct more ministry in large cities.

A document coming out of a five-day urban mission conference in October, and approved recently by Annual Council delegates, urges world church leaders to give “higher priority” to urban mission in territories. The document specifies establishing or growing an Adventist presence and “needs-based” ministries in cities with populations of more than 1 million. It also urges greater urban mission work in all cities throughout the world.<strong>URBAN MISSION:</strong> Gary Krause (center) is director of the Office of Adventist Mission. In an interview he explained the significance of a document that came out of the “It’s Time” conference on urban mission. Also pictured here on the final day of the conference, on October 1, are Mike Ryan, an Adventist Church vice president, and Rick McEdward, director of the Global Mission study centers.

Leaders at the mission conference cited several studies that indicate more of the world’s population now live in cities instead of rural areas, a tipping point that has been reached within the past five years. The Adventist Church has historically put more resources into rural areas, leaders said.

The document states that of the world’s 500 cities with populations of more than 1 million:

  • Each has an average of one Adventist congregation for every 89,000 people.
  • 43 don’t have an Adventist congregation.
  • 45 have fewer than 10 Adventists.
  • 236 are located in the 10/40 window—a geographical rectangle in the Eastern Hemisphere between the 10 and 40 northern lines of latitude, where more than 60 percent of the world’s population live, and a scant percentage are Christian.

“The conference was a wakeup call that we need to be putting more resources and prayer into our ministry in the cities,” said Gary Krause, an associate executive secretary and director of the Adventist Church’s Office of Adventist Mission. “Church leaders got a very candid glimpse of the challenge facing them in their territories.”

The plan calls for a twice-yearly reporting and assessment, as well as ongoing evaluations of goals and processes. The document repeatedly emphasized that ministries should include three major components: wholistic, based on the ministry methods of Jesus, and ongoing strategies.

The document comes two years after Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson called for increased mission in cities. n