What is the purpose of the SPD? Most of us know what the local church does because that is where we personally participate in ministry, worship, disciple making and fellowship. However, what the conference/mission, union or division do is less clear.
The SPD’s full name is the South Pacific Division of the General Conference (GC) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The SPD is one of 13 divisions and one attached union (the Middle East North African Union) that divide up the territory of the globe. The SPD is the representative branch office of the GC for the South Pacific region. Many think this Church has five levels: local church, conference/mission, union, division and General Conference. However, it only has four: the local church, conference/mission, union and GC.
The GC is made up of unions. The SPD has four unions: Papua New Guinea, Trans Pacific, Australian and the New Zealand Pacific (includes the French-speaking Pacific countries and the Cook Islands). The SPD coordinates the GC’s work in the unions. This relationship between the divisions and unions is governed by GC working policy. The basic purpose of the SPD is to support the unions in their disciple-making work within their territories.
The SPD also oversees the work of the five Division institutions. Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing group is the health food production department of the Church, which includes Life Health Foods. The Sydney Adventist Hospital operates a 525-bed acute medical hospital in Wahroonga. There are two tertiary institutions: Pacific Adventist University and Avondale College of Higher Education. Adventist Media includes video production, book publishing and distribution, and Bible contact management. The SPD ensures that as the institutions do their specialised business they fulfil the mission of Jesus. I know this is happening as I hear stories of employees becoming baptised disciples of Jesus and joining our Church.