Prayer, worship and learning together were the focus of a recent gathering in Australia of senior leaders from across the South Pacific Division (SPD).
“Mission Refocus—Going Beyond our Horizons” was the theme of the SPD Administrators’ Council, held at the Watson Park Convention Centre, Brisbane, July 11-16. The event brought together presidents, secretaries and CFOs from all unions, conferences and missions in the SPD, as well as executive teams from Adventist Media, Avondale University, Sydney Adventist Hospital, Pacific Adventist University and Sanitarium. It was the first face-to-face gathering of its kind in seven and-a-half years.
The event’s agenda included prayer and devotions, workshops, presentations, discussions and networking opportunities. Key areas of focus were ministry, leadership, governance and disciple-making. Innovative ideas were shared and perspectives were challenged as the leaders considered how the Church can continue growing as a disciple-making movement.
The presenters included General Conference director of Adventist Mission Dr Gary Krause, Ellen G White Estate associate director Dr Dwain Esmond, General Conference vice president Maurice Valentine, MOVE co-leader Dr Steve Addison and South Asia-Pacific Division secretary Pastor Wendell Mandolang.
On the Sabbath the leaders split into groups and visited various churches in Brisbane to preach and share inspiring mission stories.
Reflecting on the council, SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend appreciated the sense of unity among the diverse group of leaders.
“Culturally the diversity is amazing but when we come together in mission and spirituality, the unity is amazing,” he said.
“Our whole focus has been on spiritual growth and developing in our own lives as leaders and also on mission refocus so that we reach new people groups and new areas.”
North New Zealand Conference general secretary Rosalie McFarlane said she deeply appreciated the council and it has further inspired her to serve.
“Leadership is draining but this week has been a wonderful revival as our SPD leadership supported us to reflect closely on personal connection with God and refocusing on where we need to have a greater vision for mission,” she said.
“Passionate speakers who share honestly from the heart provided deep impact. Connecting with others in the trenches of administration was encouraging.”
Northern Australian Conference president Pastor Darren Slade was also inspired by the meetings.
“It was an excellent personal development experience with really relevant material on all aspects of church life and governance,” Pastor Slade said.
“I particularly enjoyed the spiritual focus and challenge and the practical information on how to make disciples in the community. I am inspired and keen to put what I have learned into practice.”
The sharing among leaders was “truly inspiring”, according to Trans Pacific Union Mission secretary Jane Gibson-Opetaia. “Even in the midst of colder weather, hearts were warmed as we refocused on mission,” she said.
“I felt emotionally moved as presenters described the unentered territories where God’s gospel needed to be taken. As an administrator at the Trans Pacific Union Mission, I am even more compelled to check that my work ethic remains Christ-centred, to review what methods I am using and that I am actively contributing to resourcing our Adventist movement.”