Extensive consultation of Seventh-day Adventist Church members and leaders across Australia has revealed a strong common desire to be a church that responds to the harassed and helpless.
The consultation—held in the latter half of 2017—has revealed a commitment to ensure that nothing stands in the way of helping people to know about and experience God’s love and forgiveness and helping them to grow in a living relationship with Him.
That said, it is now time to back such sentiments with action. It is one thing for members and leaders to declare a commitment to creating a thriving disciple-making movement across Australia. It is quite another to be prepared to actually make the changes necessary to our individual lives and to the life and structure of the Church that are essential to achieve that.
Change can be looked upon as an opportunity with warm enthusiasm. But realistically, the uncertainty element that comes with change can also have the effect of freezing forward momentum. Which will it be for the Church in Australia at this time?
Fear can be addressed and any potential freeze can be thawed through the first and foremost call by the consultation’s participants that together we seek God’s leading.
“I want to invite every church member, every small group, every local church, every church employee and every leader to join me in praying as we have never prayed before,” said AUC president Pastor Jorge Munoz. “We have an opportunity for change that will make a difference—that difference being led by the Holy Spirit.”
In order to progress what the Church’s stakeholders have called for (see summary at https://corporate.adventist.org.au/australian-church-structure-review), all nine local conference executive committees across Australia are being thoughtfully engaged. These executive committees have been elected by the membership in each respective region to be responsible for overseeing the progress of the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They, along with local church leadership, will work together with the Church’s national leaders to respond to the opportunities that lie immediately ahead.
"I want to invite every church member, every small group, every local church, every church employee and every leader to join me in praying as we have never prayed before."
The nationwide consultation on Church structure has revealed (see diagram above):
- A desire to seek God’s leading for change.
- That the local church must be more central to planning, support and resourcing.
- The need for far more intentional alignment and collaboration, including amongst local churches.
- A commitment to be excellent at everything the Church does in order to be effective in mission.
- The value of effective leadership.
- That the Seventh-day Adventist Church needs total member involvement.
- A need to develop models for church, schools and aged care governance and administration addressing duplication and effectiveness.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church must not be just another Christian denomination. It has the opportunity to be a fluid movement responding to the leading of the Holy Spirit, as was the early Christian church and even this Church’s own pioneers. With Jesus’ return very much on the horizon, may our Church be a thriving disciple-making movement.
Pastor Ken Vogel is associate secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia.