AUC launches unprecedented consultation with church members

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A new Facebook group designed to give Australian Adventists their say has given a boost to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia’s (AUC) review of Church structure.

The group, which was created just one week ago, already has more than 3500 members, with most members expressing appreciation for the open discussion platform.

“In order to create a thriving disciple-making movement across Australia, every member must have opportunity to ‘own’ the future mission of the Church,” said AUC associate secretary Pastor Ken Vogel. “For this reason, we have begun a journey in reviewing how we “do church” in Australia—and that journey involves an unprecedented plan to consult across the whole church.”

“This Facebook page will yield a lot of valuable information, which will add to the data already gathered,” said professional organisational change management specialist, Anthony Mitchell, who is leading the review. “A large team is overseeing the process, which includes the AUC officers, all conference presidents and a number of lay members. It’s a bold and exciting initiative.”

A map showing the strategic focus for the groups.

The AUC launched their official review of Church structure in June, and has already completed almost 70 presentations around Australia.

“We began by meeting representatives of all stakeholder groups of the church in every Conference through face to face meetings, each of around 2.5 hours in length,” said Pastor Vogel. “Some focus groups were held in regional centres so as to get a wider perspective, and stakeholders included church elders and other local church leaders, young adults, pastors, Adventist education leaders, including principals, church administrators, departmental personnel and aged care leaders.”

The focus groups, conducted by Mr Mitchell, have been deemed by the AUC as “extremely successful”, as the participation and contribution have provided data that has “turned the review on its head”.

However, the AUC believes a combination of grass roots consultation focus groups and Facebook contributors are essential to the review and any future work on the review of church structure into 2018.

A group from Northern Australia attending a focus meeting.

“On this Facebook page, church members will find questions that will stimulate their thinking in regard to how the church ought to move forward in Australia while still remaining a loyal part of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist movement,” said Pastor Vogel.

AUC president Pastor Jorge Muñoz said a focus on mission was driving the review.

“It is about asking how we can be more effective in every single way as a Church in mission,” he said. “All aspects will be considered and evaluated, and if we need to change things so that mission wins, we are all for it.”

An initial report from the review will be presented to the AUC executive committee next month. The AUC Structure Review page is open for Australian Adventist members to join, and can be accessed by visiting the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia Facebook page.

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