July 25, 2023

Leaders Focus on Prayer, Worship, and Learning Together

South Pacific Division Administrators’ Council connects and empowers.

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record
Leaders spending time in Bible study. [Photo: Adventist Record]

Prayer, worship, and learning together were the focus of a recent gathering of senior leaders from across the South Pacific Division (SPD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“Mission Refocus — Going Beyond Our Horizons” was the theme of the SPD Administrators’ Council held at the Watson Park Convention Centre in Brisbane, Australia, July 11-16. The event brought together presidents, secretaries, and chief financial officers from all unions, conferences, and missions in the SPD as well as executive teams from Adventist Media, Avondale University, Sydney Adventist Hospital, Pacific Adventist University, and Sanitarium. It was the first face-to-face gathering of its kind in seven and a half years.

The event’s agenda included prayer and devotions, workshops, presentations, discussions, and networking opportunities. Key areas of focus were ministry, leadership, governance, and disciple-making. Leaders shared innovative ideas and challenged perspectives as they considered how the Seventh-day Adventist Church can continue growing as a disciple-making movement.

The presenters included General Conference director of Adventist Mission Gary Krause, Ellen G. White Estate associate director Dwain Esmond, General Conference vice president Maurice Valentine, MOVE co-leader Steve Addison, and SPD secretary Wendell Mandolang.

On Sabbath, the leaders split into groups and visited various churches in Brisbane to preach and share inspiring mission stories.

Reflecting on the council, SPD president Glenn Townend said he appreciated the sense of unity among the diverse group of leaders.

“Culturally the diversity is amazing, but when we come together in mission and spirituality, the unity is amazing,” he said. “Our whole focus has been on spiritual growth and develop[ment] in our own lives as leaders and also on mission refocus so that we reach new people groups and new areas.”

North New Zealand Conference general secretary Rosalie McFarlane said she deeply appreciated the council, and it has further inspired her to serve.

“Leadership is draining, but this week has been a wonderful revival as our SPD leadership supported us to reflect closely on personal connection with God and refocus on where we need to have a greater vision for mission,” she said. “Passionate speakers who shared honestly from the heart provided deep impact. Connecting with others in the trenches of administration was encouraging.”

Northern Australian Conference president Darren Slade was also inspired by the meetings.

“It was an excellent personal development experience with really relevant material on all aspects of church life and governance,” he said. “I particularly enjoyed the spiritual focus and challenge and the practical information on how to make disciples in the community. I am inspired and keen to put what I have learned into practice.”

The sharing among leaders was “truly inspiring,” according to Trans Pacific Union Mission secretary Jane Gibson-Opetaia. “Even in the midst of colder weather, hearts were warmed as we refocused on mission,” she said.

“I felt emotionally moved as presenters described the unentered territories where God’s gospel needed to be taken. As an administrator at the Trans Pacific Union Mission, I am even more compelled to check that my work ethic remains Christ-centered, to review what methods I am using, and that I am actively contributing to resourcing our Adventist movement.”

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