The afternoon session began much too quickly. For those who stayed around the auditorium, Coming Out Ministries’ documentary “Journey Interrupted” provided both entertainment and opportunity to understand the challenges of the LGBT movement. For others, lunch consisted of consultations among special groups such as the Public Campus Ministries (PCM) meeting that I attended along with young adult delegates at annual council.
At the PCM meeting, Elder Ted Wilson the GC President, challenged young adults to first be connected to Christ in order to witness to their campuses and then to go out and make a difference. This was followed by a presentation from PCM director, Dr. Jiwan Moon, on the background behind PCM as well as an advertisement for the upcoming Global PCM weekend.
Following the lunch consultations (or film presentation), the delegates made their way back to the auditorium for the afternoon business session. The first portion of the business session consisted of a presentation by Adventist Mission Director Gary Krause on the challenges facing the mission offering. While noting that there had been growth in the offering, Krause nevertheless showed some difficulties such as the disparity in the increase compared to tithe. According to Krause, the mission offering has been a little “battered and bruised” and analogized the situation to a car needing a tune-up.
Michael Ryan, one of the GC Vice Presidents then led the council in an open forum on how to deal with these challenges. One delegate, Audrey Anderson, from the Trans-European Division pointed out how the mission offering might be suffering due to declining Sabbath School attendance, and therefore perhaps missions should be incorporated more into the divine worship service hour. Another delegate, a female from the Middle East & North Africa Union Mission, suggested every church or university adopt one country and focus missions there. She gave an example of an Adventist university in Colombia doing this recently for a Middle Eastern country.
At this point, Elder Ted Wilson got up and introduced what he said was perhaps an unprecedented item on an Annual Council business session agenda: Adventist-Muslim relations. Because of the sensitivity of the issues discussed, those present were asked not to record or publicize the content of what took place. Therefore, most of what follows here will be generalized to give the reader an understanding without revealing problematic details.
Elder Wilson handed the afternoon (totaling around 3 hours) off to several Adventist leaders who run the Global Center for Adventist Muslim Relations. These leaders then spent the entire afternoon detailing what was happening in Islam, Christianity and Adventism--including in Western nations. The testimonies were quite sobering to those in attendance and presented both opportunities and challenges for those of us who follow the Great Commission.
Perhaps the most effective portion was when those leading the presentation gave a series of practical tips about how Adventists and Muslims see each other followed by real life examples. By maintaining our distinctive Adventist lifestyle, we actually have advantages that other people of faith don’t have. The afternoon session ended with a prayer of commitment to reach all God’s children, particularly the world’s 2 billion Muslims.
Tomorrow, the topic of church discipline will be discussed among the full body. Stay tuned for updates.
Jason Miller just received his Law degree from C.U.A. and currently resides in Michigan.