Business Professionals Set Their Focus on ‘Mission Possible’

South Pacific Division business professionals meet to learn, reflect, and network.

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record
Business Professionals Set Their Focus on ‘Mission Possible’
Delegates attended from across the South Pacific Division. [Photo: Alexandra Manners]

Business professionals employed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific Division (SPD) recently convened for a series of insightful presentations, seminars, and workshops to learn from each other and forge new connections.

The highly anticipated 2023 Business Professionals Convention was held June 5-8 at Port Stephens in northern New South Wales, Australia. With the theme “Mission Possible,” the convention brought together 200 delegates from across the SPD, including Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia, and representatives from church organisations and institutions such as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Adventist media, Adventist schools, and retirement villages.

Financial leaders from the General Conference of the Adventist Church — treasurer Paul Douglas, under-treasurer Ray Wahlen, and associate treasurer Tim Aka — provided a global perspective on church finances. Other international guests included Robyn Kajiura, executive director of the General Conference Auditing Service, and James Winegardener, CEO of Adventist Risk Management.

The convention served as a platform for delegates to gain a deeper understanding of the mission and scope of the Adventist Church and their role as accountants, managers, treasurers, chief financial officers, and other business professionals. By exploring innovative strategies and emphasizing collaboration, the convention aimed to guide the Adventist Church toward growth and change, enabling it to better fulfill its mission and serve the community.

The keynote speaker was social researcher, author, and media commentator Michael McQueen, whose presentations were well received. His topic was “Preparing now for what’s next.”

Business, technology, human resources, change management, innovation, insurance, risk, and ethics were among the other topics covered. In addition to the professional development opportunities, the convention fostered networking, team building, and spiritual reflection among the delegates.

Reflecting on the convention’s success, Peter Cameron, chief executive officer at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia, expressed his satisfaction with the event’s organization and the caliber of presenters.

“The convention was really well organized, and the quality of the presenters actually exceeded my expectations. It was good to catch up with colleagues and friends — that has not been available for a couple of years.”

Julie Gotaha, treasurer at the Central Papua Conference of the Adventist Church in Papua New Guinea, appreciated the missional aspect.

“The convention was mission focused and different from previous ones I have attended,” she said. “I learned that there should be a refocus on the mission to the frontline. There is no other greater frontline than the local church. Mission is possible because God is powerful, and God is present.”

Trans-Pacific Union Mission chief financial officer Fraser Alekevu said the convention was a “transformative experience.” “It was a convergence of faith-driven professionals, where connections were forged, networks expanded, and knowledge shared,” he said. “It made me feel motivated that learning new things and meeting new people can lead to success.

“The convention was filled with smart and talented people who shared their knowledge and experiences, [and] we learned from each other, combining biblical principles with business knowledge. I left the event feeling inspired and determined to do well in my role as a financial leader in my organization. The convention has had a big impact on me, giving me the tools, insights, knowledge, and connections I need to succeed as a business professional in God’s service. This convention showed me that with God’s leading, anything is possible.”

The SPD Business Professionals Convention is usually held twice every five years, but due to COVID interruptions has only been convened once during the current five-year period.

The original version of this story was posted on Adventist Record.

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record