Innovative and experienced leaders have been appointed to the South Pacific Division (SPD), completing the team for the new five-year cycle.
Following the Division Executive Committee (DEC) meetings held in July, where several new appointments were made, the DEC met again on August 11 with the mission to make two final appointments.
After prayerful discussion, the committee nominated Dr Sven Östring as the SPD director of Ministry and Strategy and Dr Nick Kross as the SPD director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) and associate director of Ministry and Strategy.
Dr Östring is now transitioning from his previous role as director of church planting in the North New South Wales Conference (NNSW), where he developed a church multiplication strategy and a number of church planting resources. With a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a PhD in computer networking, he decided to enter ministry when, during his postdoctoral research at Cambridge University, his atheist landlady challenged him to provide evidence for the existence of God.
Graduating from Theology at Avondale University in 2005, he commenced ministry in the Western Australia Conference inspired by the vision of renewing the Seventh-day Adventist movement focusing on sharing the good news about Jesus with university students and young professionals. Married to Marilyn, they have two children, Samuela and Nathanael.
“Sven is an experienced pastor, chaplain and church planter and has led the Western Australian, Greater Sydney and NNSW Conferences in church planting,” said SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend.
“His passion for innovative ways to share the gospel and disciple people for Jesus in these last days will be contagious. As well as pastoral leadership Sven has interests in house church, media, health, academia, science and connecting with all ages. The son of medical missionaries to Hong Kong, Sven’s knowledge, experience and desire to build collaboration will be a blessing to the Church in the SPD.”
In his new role, Dr Östring will be leading the Ministry and Strategy team and working with Unions to facilitate and enable the implementation of their visions and strategies. “The focus will be on fulfilling the vision that God has given us in the South Pacific and achieving strategic alignment while allowing Spirit-led freedom, individuality, creativity and innovation,” said Dr Östring.
Joining him in the Ministry and Strategy team as associate director is Dr Kross, who will also fill the role of PARL director. With 34 years of ministry experience, Dr Kross had been serving the SPD in the Discipleship Ministries Team for the past six years. He has worked as the Youth Ministries director for the South Pacific Division, New Zealand Pacific Union Conference and South Queensland Conference, where he started ministry as a local church pastor. Married to Andrea, they have three children and two grandchildren. One of Dr Kross’s passions is distributing the World Changers Bible kits throughout the South Pacific, which he plans to continue doing in his new role.
“Because of Nick’s extensive experience as a departmental director in the SPD, he is one of the best known Adventists in the Pacific,” Pastor Townend said. “He has met many government leaders, politicians and country leaders in the events he has run in the past. Nick has strong relational skills and has a heart for sharing the distinct Adventist message in the public sphere. Nick’s enthusiasm for Jesus and His church will be experienced by the various government and religious leaders he meets.”
As PARL director, Dr Kross explains that he’ll be focusing on two main areas: offering support to Adventists who serve as public figures in politics and government and working with various governments to protect freedom of religion and speech.
“To protect the right of our faith communities to be able to worship and conduct their lives without being intimidated or discriminated against. This is the more complex side of the PARL role,” Dr Kross said.
As Ministry and Strategy associate director, his role will be to act as a liaison for the various departments that operate in the church structure. “Our role as a directorship team will be to create a strong ministry strategy that will equip and empower the church across the South Pacific Division. Our work has to be a blessing to the local church members in order to advance the kingdom of God,” Dr Kross said.
“Working with Dr Sven Ostring will be a real blessing, as I see Sven as a dedicated and competent church planting visionary who will take this dream to the next level,” he added.
Among the appointments made at the DEC meetings in July, Julian Archer has been appointed as the new SPD stewardship director. He will replace Christina Hawkins, who has accepted the role of mission integration director at Sydney Adventist Hospital.
Mr Archer is currently the NNSW project manager and stewardship director and has extensive experience in business. “I graduated as a high school teacher on a Sunday in late 1993, but went back into running family businesses on the Monday! God has led me through a kaleidoscope of work roles including small business management, ADRA Nepal country director and running a supportive ministry called Faith vs Finance,” he explained.
“Julian is a business man of experience who has a heart for ministry,” said Pastor Townend. “He has written a book on stewardship and travelled the world sharing workshops on the topic. His ability to teach business skills and use the resources of land for production of resources are some of the things that the church in the SPD is requesting, and Julian has the experience and knowledge to deliver this.”
In his new role, Mr Archer will be focusing on developing and distributing resources that educate and inspire church members to faithfully manage God’s blessings. He will also work with the finance teams to support and promote eGiving and other electronic giving systems for tithes and offerings.
“We need to each seriously and prayerfully consider the resources in our hands, and sacrificially invest them in God’s crucial work for this time,” he said.
“All these directors want to see the distinctive message of Jesus in these last days triumph and that this Church expands the disciple-making movement in the SPD,” said Pastor Townend.