On February 25, the North American Division (NAD) Executive Committee met to vote on a quinquennial strategic focus and approve an April 29 business meeting to hold elections for NAD vice president, department directors, and associate directors.
NAD president G. Alexander Bryant chaired the meeting and explained the proposed strategic focus. During the virtual Zoom meeting, NAD secretary Kyoshin Ahn also presented a statement from a writing committee of executive committee members, which, according to the statement’s preamble, “addresses issues specific to the NAD, and contextualizes the General Conference’s ‘One Humanity’ document into the North American setting.”
The executive committee voted approval of both the strategic focus and the April 29 elections. After some discussion, the document, “A Call to Live in Harmony with God and Others,” was referred back to the writing committee.
Near the close of the meeting, Randy Robinson, NAD treasurer, shared an update on the 2021 budget and record-breaking 2020 tithe figures.
In referring to the past year and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Robinson said, “There are still many struggling churches, struggling areas in North America. But this tithe performance gave the North American Division the ability to use its reserves and send out dollars that were hopefully used as assistance, through our unions and conferences, to our local fields that were suffering.”
Robinson explained that the division allocated US$10 million in stimulus money to assist local conferences, churches, and schools. “The generosity of our people across North America, and the benevolence of our heavenly Father, gave us the ability to do that. And we’re just so grateful,” he added.
Before the meeting got underway, John Bradshaw, speaker/director of It Is Written media ministry, shared a devotional message. Bradshaw talked about the privilege of knowing God and delighting in service to Him. “Life will be a life of continual obedience,” Bradshaw said, “and through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us. And when we’re there, there’s nothing that can stop the river from flowing. When God told us to go and make disciples of all nations, he was saying, ‘Go flow.’ ”
Bradshaw concluded, “We have the Spirit of God filling us and arming us. God’s Word is power. There is a world that will be reached. God has called us, His people, to be that river that flows out of a heaven’s sanctuary and takes the gospel to the world and brings healing and hope and health and life — let that be our mission. We're going to see God do things such as we’ve never seen before.”
Bryant then shared a detailed presentation that was both a devotional thought and an outline of the strategic focus that the NAD has been honing since its year-end meeting in fall 2020. He explained that throughout the intervening months, the NAD met several times with union and conference presidents; the NAD leadership team (composed of vice presidents, directors, and associate directors) and division staff; Adventist Media Ministries directors; executive leaders from the health institutions; higher education leaders; and other division institutions, including Pacific Press Publishing Association, Christian Record Services, and the North American Division Evangelism Institute.
“We’ve gone through the process of meeting with so many different leaders to get input and suggestions on what strategic focus we can have as we move forward,” Bryant said. “We cannot maximize the potential that we have as a division unless we are all moving in the same direction with the same strategic focus.” He said that, if voted, the division will incorporate the General Conference theme “I Will Go,” with the NAD focus of “Together in Mission” — and with particular emphasis on media, multiplying, and mentorship. Moving forward, the division will carefully consider the next steps of shaping this focus into a strategic plan.
“Jesus won the confidence of others by ministering to their needs,” Bryant said. “He won their confidence by mingling with them, and after He won their confidence because He showed interest in them, He bade them to follow Him. That is the formula that God has given His church.”
Bryant asked the executive committee these questions: “In the North American Division, we have great diversity, we have a large territory, we have a multiplicity of views, and we have significant resources. How do we leverage them for a greater impact on God’s kingdom? How do we leverage them so that we, collectively, can do the ministry of Jesus? How do we leverage them so that we are mingling with people, and ministering to their needs, and showing sympathy for them — and then we win their confidence? What would happen if we did more of these things?”